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A comparison of two methods to measure coronary flow reserve in the setting of coronary angioplasty: intracoronary blood flow velocity measurements with a Doppler catheter, and digital subtraction cineangiography

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 725-736 First published online: 2 August 1989


Intracoronary blood flow velocity measurements with a Doppler balloon catheter and the radiographic assessment of myocardial perfusion with contrast media, before and after the intracoronary administration of papaverine, have previously been used to investigate regional coronary flow reserve. In the present study we applied both techniques in 21 patients to measure coronary flow reserve in the setting of coronary angioplasty. Pre-angioplasty (N=14) and post-angioplasty (N=19) measurements of coronary flow reserve were obtained by digital subtraction cineangiography in the myocardial region supplied by the dilated coronary artery, and with the Doppler probe in the proximal part of the dilated vessel. The reactive hyperaemia following the final balloon inflation was recorded with the Doppler balloon catheter still positioned across the stenotic lesion. Coronary stenosis geometry was quantified with the Cardiovascular Angiography Analysis System. When the epicardial stenosis was the only factor causing a reduction in coronary flow reserve, flow reserve measured with both digital subtraction cineangiography and with the Doppler probe correlated well with the cross-sectional area at the site of obstruction, r = 0·88, SEE =0·36 and r = 0·77, SEE =0·45 respectively. In contrast, when other factors decreasing coronary flow reserve were present (intimal dissection, left ventricular hypertrophy, previous myocardial infarction, collaterals) measurements obtained with both techniques correlated poorly with cross-sectional area (r = 0·55, SEE =0·57, and r = 0·59, SEE =0·50). Flow reserve measurements obtained with digital subtraction cineangiography correlated well with the measurements obtained with the Doppler probe (r = 0·85, SEE=0·38, and r = 0·87, SEE =0·34), although the two approaches have methodologically nothing in common and their respective regions of interest (myocardium for the radiographic technique and intracoronary lumen for the Doppler technique) are basically different. Furthermore, the reactive hyperaemia following the final balloon inflation was related to the flow reserve measured with both the angiographic technique (r = 0·85, SEE =0·34) and the Doppler technique (r = 0·83, SEE=0132) using pharmacologically induced coronary vasodilatiori with intracoronary papaverine. This suggests that the same quantity of coronary flow reserve that can be recruited pharmacologically can be recruited by ischaemia following a transluminal occlusion.

  • coronary flow reserve
  • digital subtraction cineangiography
  • Doppler tip balloon catheter
  • reactive hyperaemia

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