Continuing Education Activity
Coronary stenoses with circumferential or significant vessel calcification are rigid and frequently not dilatable with use of conventional balloon angioplasty. Often stent dilation and maximal vessel wall apposition are compromised in extensively calcified coronary lesions, stents deployed in heavily calcified vessels without atherectomy tend to thrombose, restenosis, and could cause stent fracture. Significant calcification remains a major limitation of balloon angioplasty as well as successful stent delivery to severely affected vessels. In cases with heavily calcified lesions, high-pressure, non-compliant balloon inflations may still fail to dilate adequately and prepare a heavily calcified vessel for stent delivery. This activity reviews the indications, contraindications, and complications of rotational atherectomy and highlights the role of the interprofessional team in the management of patients with CAD. Atherectomy refers to the removal of the obstructing material, and in our case this is calcium. By removing significant calcification or modifying the calcified atherosclerotic plaque vessel wall compliance in calcified or fibrotic lesions is increased, and the lumen diameter gained from using this device will be much improved as compared to the use of simple balloon angioplasty. Rotational atherectomy is one of several ways to perform atherectomy in a coronary vessel. It is the most commonly used atherectomy device and removes atheromatous plaque by differential cutting, that is removing the inelastic calcified plaque with microscopic (20 to 50 micrometers) diamond chips embedded on the surface of a rapidly rotating (150,000 to 200,000 rpm) olive-shaped burr. Such abrasion generates 2 to 5-micrometer microparticles that propagate through the coronary microcirculation and are removed by the reticuloendothelial system. The burr travels over a specialized 0.009-inch guidewire and is available in diameters ranging from 1.25 to 2.50 mm. In the setting of severe calcification, smaller burr sizes should be used initially, followed by larger burrs in 0.25 to 0.50-mm increments up to 70% of the reference vessel diameter. This activity describes rotational atherectomy, and explains the role of the interprofessional team in managing patients who undergo this procedure.
- Describe the technique of rotational atherectomy.
- Review the indications for rotational atherectomy.
- Summarize the complications of rotational athetectomy.
- Explain the importance of improving care coordination among interprofessional team members to improve outcomes for patients undergoing rotational atherectomy.