Total coronary occlusion is a frequent cause of procedural failure after coronary angioplasty, often because of the inability to recanalize the occluded segment with a conventional coronary guidewire. The novel excimer laser catheter described in this report contains a highly efficient, pulsed excimer laser guidewire designed to create a small channel within the occluded coronary segment. A preliminary report of the safety and efficacy of this excimer laser catheter is provided.Methods
Ten patients with refractory coronary occlusions that could not be crossed by experienced operators using conventional guidewire techniques were treated using a novel laser catheter system. The laser catheter consisted of a densely packed, multiple fiber, helical guidewire measuring 0.020 inches (0.51 mm) in diameter, interfacing a 308 nm excimer laser system and delivering 70–80 mJ/mm2 of energy to the output surface. After the laser guidewire had been advanced to the occlusion site, laser energy was applied to ablate a channel as the wire was advanced through the occlusion. Once the occlusion had been recanalized, standard concentric laser or balloon angioplasty was performed.Results
Complete recanalization was achieved in three total occlusions, and partial recanalization was established in a further three; thus, normal coronary perfusion was attained in six out of 10 patients after adjunct excimer laser or balloon angioplasty. The final minimum lumen diameter averaged 1.51 mm and the final residual stenosis diameter was 27%. In two patients the procedure was unsuccessful but without significant complications; two other patients developed limited coronary perforations without clinical sequelae.Conclusion
Refractory coronary occlusions were successfully recanalized in six out of 10 patients using a novel excimer laser catheter. Treatment failures in four patients were not associated with major complications, although limited coronary perforation occurred in two patients.