Relation of Clinical Presentation, Stenosis Morphology, and Operator Technique to the Procedural Results of Rotational Atherectomy and Rotational Atherectomy–Facilitated Angioplasty

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Rotational atherectomy using the Rotablator has recently become available to treat coronary stenoses. This study was performed to determine the relation of patient characteristics, stenosis morphology, and operator technique procedural outcome to gain insight into which patients might be best treated with this device.

Methods and Results

Four hundred stenoses from 316 patients randomly selected from the initial Rotablator experience at three major referral institutions were analyzed. Angiographic data were assessed at a central angiographic laboratory using standardized morphological criteria and caliper measurement. Patients were somewhat more elderly than most percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA)-treated groups (mean age, 64±11 years), 74% were men, and the lesions treated were often complex (modified American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association lesion type A, 24%; Bi, 40%; B2, 30%; and C, 6%). Elective adjunctive PTCA was used for 82% of stenoses treated. Procedural success was achieved in 89.8% of stenoses (93.5% if results with creatine kinase two to three times normal are not counted as failures), and major ischemic complications (death, 0.3%; non-Q-wave myocardial infarction, 5.7%; Q-wave myocardial infarction, 2.2%; or emergency bypass surgery, 0.9%) occurred in 8.9% of patients. Complications were due to epicardial coronary obstruction in 3.8% of patients and to delayed coronary runoff (“slow reflow”) in 5.1% of patients. Procedural failure was correlated independently with outflow obstruction (success rate, 64%; odds ratio for failure, 5.4; multivariate P = .002), lesion irregularity (76%; odds ratio, 3.3; P = .003), stenosis bend .600 (73%; odds ratio, 3.7; P = .03), and female sex (84%; odds ratio, 2.4; P = .03). Ischemic complications were correlated independently with lesion length (≥50% narrowing) ≥4 mm (complication rate, 12%; odds ratio, 3.6; multivariate P = .005), right coronary artery stenosis (13%; odds ratio, 2.4; P = .02), stenosis bend ≥60° (27%; odds ratio, 6.1; P = .03), and female sex (13%; odds ratio, 3.0; P = .04). Slow reflow was correlated with total burring duration (odds ratio, 1.005/s; multivariate P = .001), right coronary artery stenosis (incidence, 17%; odds ratio, 4.5; P = .009), and to a lesser extent with recent myocardial infarction in the treated territory (44%; odds ratio, 4.3; P = .08).


The procedural outcome of rotational atherectomy is highly correlated with stenosis morphology and location and sex of the patient. After stratification for these parameters, overall outcome with the Rotablator appears to be similar to that with balloon angioplasty and other competing techniques. Short-term outcome with specific subsets of patients may be superior with the Rotablator calcified stenoses), but this technique might best be avoided in some patients (those with irregular or possibly thrombuscontaining stenoses, highly angulated stenoses, and possible right coronary artery stenoses or those associated with impaired distal runoff caused by a recent myocardial infarction or manifest by a fixed thallium defect).

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