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Cathet Cardiovasc Diagn. 1996 Jul;38(3):256-62.

Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty of internal mammary arteries in patients with rest angina.

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Division of Cardiology, Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Colorado, USA.


Angioplasty of the internal mammary artery (IMA) bypass graft has been shown to be a safe and effective revascularization procedure. However, angiographic and long term clinical outcomes in the high-risk group of patients presenting with rest angina has not been well documented. We report the results of IMA angioplasty in 20 patients with rest angina out of 614 (3.2%) who received a left IMA graft at our institution between April 1987 and September 1994. All patients were admitted with rest angina, 12 patients demonstrated persistent ischemia despite medical therapy, two patients were in heart failure, and one patient was in cardiogenic shock. Balloon angioplasty was successful in 15 of 20 patients (75%). Failed angioplasty was associated with either severe IMA tortuousity (three patients) or inability to cross the anastomotic stenosis with the guide wire (two patients). Each of these five patients required angioplasty of either the native left anterior descending artery or other saphenous vein grafts for clinical stabilization. No patient suffered a major complication (myocardial infarction, emergent coronary bypass surgery, death). Clinical follow-up was obtained in all 20 patients (6 months, 7 years, mean 27 months). Twelve patients (60%) were asymptomatic or had stable angina at follow-up, and 8 returned with anginal symptoms. Four patients required repeat angioplasty for disease in other vessels, two were treated medically for angina, one underwent repeat CABG, and cardiac transplantation was performed in one patient for refractory heart failure. Angiographic follow up was obtained in 10/15 (66%) successful angioplasty patients, and only one patient demonstrated restenosis at the treated site (10%). During follow up one patient developed an IMA stenosis at a previous dissection site in the body of the graft that was treated with angioplasty. These results suggest that IMA angioplasty in patients with rest angina is associated with excellent long term patency and clinical efficacy, as well as low procedural risk.

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