The role of intracoronary thrombus in unstable angina: angiographic assessment and thrombolytic therapy during ongoing anginal attacks.
Intracoronary thrombus is regarded as a potentially important factor in the etiology of unstable angina, but the incidence of intracoronary thrombus in unstable angina has not been clearly defined. To determine the occurrence of intracoronary thrombus during ongoing angina pectoris, coronary angiography was performed during spontaneous ischemic attacks in 37 patients with prolonged rest angina. All patients exhibited significant (greater than 50%) stenoses of at least one major coronary artery. Of the 37 patients, 21 (57%) had intracoronary thrombus in major coronary arteries, whereas 14 (38%) had fixed narrowings without evidence of intracoronary thrombus and two exhibited coronary spasm. ST segment elevation was observed in 16 of 21 patients with thrombus and in all of the patients with coronary spasm, but all the patients with organic stable obstruction showed ST segment depression. Twenty of the 21 patients with thrombus improved after thrombolytic therapy with intracoronary injection of urokinase; obstructed arteries were reopened, or narrowings were attenuated, with relief of ischemic symptoms. In patients with fixed obstructions, the rate-pressure product during active symptoms was significantly higher than during an asymptomatic period, indicating that a transient increase in myocardial oxygen demand may contribute to the ischemic attack in these patients. A high incidence (71%) of recurrent symptoms was observed in patients with intracoronary thrombus even after successful thrombolysis, in contrast to a much lower incidence (36%) in those without intracoronary thrombus. Myocardial infarction within 4 weeks after catheterization was observed more frequently in patients with intracoronary thrombus (24%) than in those without thrombus (7%).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association