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Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization.

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine, 201 E. Huron Street, Galter 10-105, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMR) has been performed on over 12,000 patients worldwide. Since 1990, the treatment has provided significant angina relief for symptomatic end-stage coronary disease that is refractory to medical therapy. Seventy-five percent of patients treated with TMR have demonstrated a decrease of two or more angina classes postoperatively. As a result, TMR has provided a significant improvement in quality of life for patients, resulting in fewer hospital admissions and decreased dependency on medications. Two different wavelengths of light, carbon dioxide (CO(2)) and holmium yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Ho:YAG), have been employed. Results obtained using these lasers differ. The CO(2) laser has demonstrated a perfusion benefit as well as long-term improvement in quality of life and angina relief. The Ho:YAG laser has not demonstrated these results. These differences may, in part, explain the failure of percutaneous myocardial laser revascularization. This catheter-based approach was not as successful as TMR due to its partial thickness treatment of the myocardium as well as its use of the Ho:YAG laser. In addition to the patients with end-stage coronary disease who undergo TMR as sole therapy, there are an increasing number of patients who have been treated with a combination of coronary artery bypass grafting and TMR. This provides a more complete revascularization than leaving territories ungrafted. Further enhancement of the angiogenic response seen after TMR may be seen by the addition of gene therapy to TMR treatment.

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