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Safety of Diagnostic Balloon Occlusion in Normal Coronary Arteries

      Diagnostic coronary balloon occlusion (CBO) is mandatory for collateral function assessment, during angioscopy and optical coherence imaging, and when using certain coronary protection devices against emboli. Thus far, the safety of diagnostic CBO regarding procedural and long-term complications in normal coronary arteries has not been studied. In 316 patients, diagnostic CBO was performed for collateral function measurement in 426 angiographically normal vessels. The angioplasty balloon was inflated for 60 to 120 seconds using inflation pressures of 1 to 3 atm, followed by control angiography during and after CBO. Patients were divided into groups with entirely normal (n = 133) and partially normal (n = 183) vessels. Primary end points were procedural and long-term complications. De novo stenosis development was assessed by quantitative coronary angiography in 35% of the patients. Secondary end points were cardiac events at 5 years of follow-up. Procedural complications occurred in 1 patient (0.2%). In 150 repeat angiographic procedures in 92 patients (follow-up duration 10 ± 15 months), quantitative coronary angiography revealed no difference in percentage diameter narrowing between baseline and follow-up (4.1% vs 3.9%, p = 0.69). During follow-up periods of 14 and 72 months, respectively, a new stenotic lesion was detected in 1 patient in each group (1.3%). Major cardiac events and percutaneous coronary intervention for stable angina were less frequent in the group with entirely normal than with partially normal vessels (0.8% vs 5.5%, p = 0.02, and 0.8% vs 18%, p <0.0001). In conclusion, low–inflation pressure diagnostic CBO in angiographically normal coronary arteries bears a minimal risk for procedural and long-term complications and can therefore be regarded as a safe procedure.
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