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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009 Jan 27;53(4):309-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2008.10.017.

Thrombus aspiration during primary percutaneous coronary intervention improves myocardial reperfusion and reduces infarct size: the EXPIRA (thrombectomy with export catheter in infarct-related artery during primary percutaneous coronary intervention) prospective, randomized trial.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Morphologic Sciences, Policlinico Umberto I, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy. rino.sardella@uniroma1.it



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact on myocardial perfusion and infarct size as assessed by contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (CE-MRI) of a manual thrombectomy device, Export Medtronic (EM) (Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota), as adjunctive therapy in primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) in a subset of patients with anterior ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).


PPCI may cause thrombus dislodgment, leading to microvascular damage.


One hundred seventy-five STEMI patients were randomly assigned to standard percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) (n = 87) or EM-PCI (n = 88). The primary end points were the occurrence of myocardial blush grade > or =2 and the rate of 90-min ST-segment resolution >70%. The CE-MRI substudy was performed in 75 patients with anterior STEMI to assess microvascular obstruction and infarct size.


Myocardial blush grade > or =2 and ST-segment resolution occurred more frequently in the EM-PCI group (88% vs. 60%, p = 0.001; and 64% vs. 39%, p = 0.001). In the acute phase, microvascular obstruction extent was significantly lower in the EM-PCI group and at 3 months, infarct size was significantly reduced only in the EM-PCI group. A lower incidence of cardiac death in the EM-PCI group (4.6% vs. 0%, log-rank test p = 0.02) was observed at 9 months.


Thrombectomy prevents thrombus embolization and preserves microvascular integrity reducing infarct size, and it therefore represents an useful adjunctive therapy in PPCI.

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