Directional coronary atherectomy in 2005

Alessandra Repetto, Marco Ferlini, Maurizio Ferrario, Luigi Angoli, Ezio Bramucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The original aim of atherectomy was to reduce restenosis by means of aggressive plaque debulking, and the failure of large randomized trials to show any advantage of atherectomy over balloon angioplasty restricted its wider application. However, single-center registries in which aggressive debulking was performed by experienced operators have reported favorable results in terms of reduced restenosis and improved clinical outcomes when atherectomy was performed before stenting. Plaque debulking reduces the potential for plaque shift and facilitates subsequent high-pressure stent expansion, smoothes the internal vessel surface, scaffolds intimal flaps, and prevents elastic recoil. It has also been demonstrated that atherectomy can play a role in the treatment of complex lesions (ostial left anterior descending coronary artery lesions, left main lesions, and bifurcations), in which plaque shift may compromise the result of the procedure. New-generation devices have shown that atherectomy can be safely and effectively used to treat even relatively small vessels. In the current era of drug-eluting stents characterized by a considerable reduction in restenosis rates, optimal stent geometry and final luminal diameter are still important predictors of restenosis. Given the possible role of plaque shifting at the edges of a stent in causing restenosis, debulking could be added to the local drug effect in complex lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-497
Number of pages4
JournalItalian Heart Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Coronary stenosis
  • Coronary stent
  • Directional atherectomy
  • Restenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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