Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of canjcardiolLink to Publisher's site
Can J Cardiol. 2009 November; 25(11): e391–e392.
PMCID: PMC2776573

A multifaceted approach to intracoronary thrombus: Use of pharmacology, an aspiration catheter and an embolic protection device

William Keeble, BMedSci BM.BS MRCP(UK) DM and Robert Welsh, MD FRCPC FACC

A 50-year-old smoker sustained an acute coronary syndrome. A culprit lesion (Figure 1A) with a column of attached thrombus (Figure 1B) was demonstrated at angiography.

Several pharmacological and mechanical options were considered (1). An inappropriately long stent would be required to ‘direct stent’ the lesion and to ‘trap the thrombus’ behind the stent struts. Use of a proximal protection device (Proxis, St Jude Medical, USA) to arrest coronary flow, aspirate the thrombus and deploy a shorter stent was also considered (2). The favoured approach was to deploy a distal embolic protection device below the thrombus (Spider EX, ev3 Inc, USA). The device was passed across the lesion on a guidewire, and the sheath encasing the device was withdrawn to allow the basket or ‘windsock’ to open (Figure 1C). Despite ballooning the lesion (Figure 1D), a globular filling defect remained (Figure 1E). An aspiration catheter (Pronto, Vascular Solutions, USA), primed by negative pressure, was used to extract the clot (Figure 1F) (3). The lesion was stented and the basket resheathed and withdrawn. The contents of the aspiration catheter syringe revealed a column of thrombus and debris (Figure 1E). Irrigation of the basket demonstrated further embolized material (Figure 1H). A satisfactory final angiographic appearance was obtained (Figure 1G) with prompt distal flow.

Distal clot embolization is a known complication of percutaneous coronary intervention. Although no therapy has been shown to ‘solve’ this problem, appropriate pharmacological therapy, use of aspiration catheters (3) and selected use of embolic protection devices (4,5) may be considered on a case-by-case basis.


1. Pornratanarangsi S, El-Jack SS, Webster MW, et al. Extraction of challenging intracoronary thrombi: Multi-device strategies using guide catheters, distal vascular protection devices and aspiration catheters. J Invasive Cardiol. 2008;20:455–62. [PubMed]
2. Koch KT, Haeck JD, Van Der Schaaf RJ, et al. Proximal embolic protection with aspiration in percutaneous coronary intervention using the Proxis device. Rev Cardiovasc Med. 2007;8:160–6. [PubMed]
3. Vlaar PJ, Svilaas T, van der Horst IC, et al. Cardiac death and reinfarction after 1 year in the Thrombus Aspiration during Percutaneous coronary intervention in Acute myocardial infarction Study (TAPAS): A 1-year follow-up study. Lancet. 2008;371:1915–20. [PubMed]
4. Gick M, Jander N, Bestehorn HP, et al. Randomized evaluation of the effects of filter-based distal protection on myocardial perfusion and infarct size after primary percutaneous catheter intervention in myocardial infarction with and without ST-segment elevation. Circulation. 2005;112:1462–9. [PubMed]
5. Kelbaek H, Thuesen L, Helqvist S, et al. Drug-eluting versus bare metal stents in patients with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction: Eight-month follow-up in the Drug Elution and Distal Protection in Acute Myocardial Infarction (DEDICATION) trial. Circulation. 2008;118:1155–62. [PubMed]

Articles from The Canadian Journal of Cardiology are provided here courtesy of Pulsus Group