Unrecognized left main coronary artery disease in patients undergoing interventional procedures

James B. Hermiller, Christopher E. Buller, Alan N. Tenaglia, Katherine B. Kisslo, Harry R. Phillips, Thomas M. Bashore, Richard S. Stack, Charles J. Davidson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Selective, coronary arteriographic, catheterbased, intravascular ultrasound images were obtained to determine the presence and extent of angiographically undetected or underestimated left main (UM) coronary arterial narrowing in patients receiving coronary interventional therapy. Coronary arteriograms were determined to be either normal or abnormal by visual inspection. Abnormal arteriograms were digitized and quantitated using a semiautomated edge-detection algorithm. Thirty-eight patients receiving percutaneous treatment of stenoses in the left coronary artery system were studied. Optimal LM coronary angiograms were obtained in 2 views, and intravascular ultrasound images were obtained after the coronary interventional procedure. Intravascular ultrasound detected plaque in 24 of 27 angiographically normal LM arteries (89%), whereas narrowing was observed in 11 of 11 angiographically abnormal LM arteries (100%). Eight of 38 patients (21%) had >40% area stenosis by intravascular ultrasound. In patients with angiographic disease, there was no correlation between quantitative angiographic and ultrasound percent area stenosis (r = 0.12; p = 0.72; SEE 19%). The median plaque area was not different between angiographically normal (0.05 cm2; 0.03, 0.08 [25th, 75th percentile]) and abnormal (0.06 cm2; 0.03, 0.1) patients. The median percent area stenosis in arteriographically normal subjects (26%; 14, 32%) was less than that in abnormal ones (37%; 20, 46%) (p = 0.03). Unrecognized LM disease is widespread and often underestimated in patients with normal LM angiograms undergoing interventional procedures. Plaque area is similar for angiographically normal and insignificantly abnormal vessels. This study suggests that intravascular ultrasound overcomes the limitations of silhouette imaging and can be a clinically useful, adjunctive method to evaluate LM coronary artery disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-176
Number of pages4
JournalThe American journal of cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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