OBJECTIVES: Coronary stenting is the primary therapeutic option for percutaneous treatment of many coronary lesions, after the risk of subacute stent thrombosis and bleeding complications has been reduced by improved antithrombotic regimens and high pressure stent expansion. BACKGROUND: Direct stent implantation (without predilation) has been considered a promising new technique that may reduce the procedure time, radiation exposure time and cost. METHODS: After having reviewed all cases of stent implantation from February to June 1998 (n = 585), 185 (32%) of these patients were retrospectively considered candidates for direct stent implantation without predilation, according to prespecified criteria (i.e., absence of severe coronary calcifications and/or tortuosity of the lesion or the segment proximal to the lesion). By operator preference, direct coronary stent implantation was actually attempted in 123 (21%) of the 585 patients (100 men, 60 ± 10 years old) on 123 lesions. The impact of direct stenting in terms of cost, procedure time, radiation exposure time and amount of contrast dye used was assessed by comparing the two groups of patients who underwent single-vessel stenting without (n = 69) and with (n = 46) predilation. RESULTS: Direct stenting was successful in 118 patients (96%). No acute or subacute complications occurred in these patients. Procedure time, radiation exposure time and cost were significantly lower in the group of patients who had single-vessel direct versus conventional stenting (45 ±31 vs. 64 ± 46 min, 12 ± 9 vs. 16 ± 10 min and 1,305 ± 363 vs. 2,210 ± 803 Euro, respectively; p <0.05 for all). CONCLUSIONS: Direct stenting without predilation in selected lesions seems to be a safe and successful procedure that provides a way to contain cost and to shorten radiation exposure time.
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