Evaluation of a balloon occlusion and aspiration system for protection from distal embolization during stenting in saphenous vein grafts


      Distal embolization after angioplasty in degenerated saphenous vein grafts (SVGs) results in high rates of periprocedural myonecrosis and mortality. Temporary protection of the distal microcirculation with aspiration of dislodged debris may improve the safety of SVG intervention. To evaluate the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of distal protection using the PercuSurge GuardWire Occlusion and Aspiration System, 103 consecutive patients undergoing planned stenting of 105 SVG lesions were prospectively enrolled in a multinational, multicenter study. Before angioplasty, protection of the distal circulation was achieved with the PercuSurge GuardWire distal balloon occlusion system, followed by stenting and debris aspiration. Quality assurance measures in the study included independent on-site data monitoring, clinical event adjudication, data analysis, and use of multiple core laboratories. Mean graft age was 8.9 ± 4.0 years. The duration of distal balloon inflation was 5.4 ± 3.7 minutes; premature balloon deflation for ischemia was not required in any patient. Macroscopically visible red and/or yellow debris was extracted in 91% of patients. By core lab analysis, postprocedural Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction-III flow was present in 98.9% of grafts (vs 83.5% before intervention). No patient developed angiographic evidence of no reflow or distal embolization. Postprocedural creatine phosphokinase MB isozyme levels were elevated to >3 × normal in only 5 patients (5%), and 97 patients (94%) were free of major adverse events at 30 days. We conclude that the GuardWire distal balloon occlusion and aspiration system is an effective and safe method for protecting distal microcirculation from the adverse consequences of embolization during mechanical intervention of degenerated SVGs.
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