In vivo assessment of vascular pathology resulting from laser irradiation. Analysis of 23 patients studied by directional atherectomy immediately after laser angioplasty.
BACKGROUND The pathological consequences of cardiovascular laser irradiation have been studied extensively in vitro. Previous in vivo studies of laser-induced injury have included analyses of acute and/or chronic findings in experimental animals. Little information, however, is available regarding the acute effects of laser irradiation of human vascular tissues in vivo.
METHODS AND RESULTS To determine the acute pathology resulting from laser irradiation of human vascular tissue in vivo, specimens retrieved from 23 patients by directional atherectomy immediately after laser angioplasty (19 peripheral and four coronary) were examined by light microscopy. Of the 23 patients, three (13.0%) were treated with a metal-capped ("hot-tip") fiber coupled to a continuous-wave neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd:YAG) laser using up to 18 W power and 18-305 seconds of cumulative exposure time; in all three patients (100%), thermal injury, including frank charring several cell layers thick, was seen along the luminal borders of the atherectomy specimen. In eight of the 23 patients (34.5%), laser angioplasty was performed using a 250-microseconds holmium:YAG laser at fluences up to 2,300 mJ/mm2, a repetition rate of 5 Hz, and 25-200 seconds of cumulative exposure; in seven of eight patients (85.5%), the atherectomy specimen showed signs of vacuolar injury consisting of central and satellite Alcian-blue-negative vacuoles. In two patients (25.0%), there was a "smudged" or "shredded" edge, whereas in one patient, frank signs of thermal injury were observed. Finally, in 12 of the 23 patients (52.2%), laser angioplasty was performed using a 120-nsec excimer laser at fluences up to 60 mJ/mm2, a repetition rate of 25 Hz, and a cumulative exposure time of 21-315 seconds. Pathological findings among these 12 patients were limited to nine patients (75%) in whom a weakly basophilic, smudged, and/or shredded appearance approximately one cell layer thick was observed along the luminal border of the atherectomy specimen and two patients (16.7%) with small foci of vacuolar injury. None of the atherectomy specimens retrieved after excimer laser angioplasty disclosed signs of thermal injury.
CONCLUSIONS These findings document that acute pathological alterations resulting from in vivo laser angioplasty are variable, depending on the laser source used, and are similar to that predicted by experimental studies performed previously in vitro. The prognostic implications of these varying pathological features remain to be clarified.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association