OBJECTIVES: We assessed the short- and long-term clinical and angiographic outcome of nonocclusive unstented dissection after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) and its correlation with restenosis. BACKGROUND: The use of stents has dramatically increased both the number and the cost of coronary revascularization procedures. However, this technique is not completely risk free, and its benefits have not been fully demonstrated in uncomplicated dissections. METHODS: We studied 129 consecutive patients with 49 nonocclusive dissections after PTCA (grades A to D of National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute classification) and good distal flow (TIMI [Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction] flow grade 3). All patients underwent coronary angiography at 24 h and at six months post-PTCA. Clinical status was assessed every three months in the outpatient clinic. Study subjects were matched with 60 other patients in whom stenting was performed for the presence of dissection. RESULTS: In the former group, all but two patients (with type E dissection, which evolved to coronary occlusion and myocardial infarction) improved their dissection score during follow-up: at six months only 18 dissections were still angiographically visible, and no clinical adverse events were recorded. In the dissected vessels, the restenosis rate was significantly lower than in those without dissection (12% vs. 44%, p <0.001); in the stented vessels, the restenosis rate was 25% (15/60). CONCLUSIONS: In the presence of TIMI flow grade 3, coronary dissection is associated with a favorable outcome and predicts a low restenosis rate. These results caution against the indiscriminate use of intravascular prostheses in the event of nonocclusive coronary dissection.
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