Synergistic ELCA-aspiration-DES thrombus removal strategy—embolus impact in high-risk plaque: A case report

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Thin-cap fibroatheroma (TCFA) and red thrombus are suggested as a high-risk of embolic complications during percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Intracoronary aspiration procedures occasionally result in either an insufficient thrombus removal or provide no significant effects on TCFA.

Patient concerns:

A 76-year-old male underwent coronary angiography for chest pain.


Coronary angiography revealed a tight stenosis at the right coronary artery which resulted in treatment by PCI. Optical frequency domain imaging (OFDI) delineated a red thrombus with TCFA.


To avoid embolic complications, excimer laser coronary angioplasty (ELCA) was applied with intracoronary aspiration before drug-eluting stent (DES) implantation.


The red thrombus was vaporized by ELCA in an energy-intensity dependent manner and subsequently removed by intracoronary aspiration. The fibrous cap of TCFA was dissected with the material beneath the cap ablated by ELCA and extensively removed by intracoronary aspiration. DES implantation and postdilatation achieved an optimal result without flow compromise. This combined synergistic strategy of ELCA-aspiration-DES yielded a successful outcome.


A synergistic embolus removal strategy combining ELCA, aspiration and DES implantation is a promising option for the treatment of high-risk plaque with potential embolic complications.

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