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Percutaneous coronary intervention can be associated with distal embolization of thrombotic material causing myocardial necrosis and infarction. We discuss the role of intravascular imaging to guide the use of a distal protection device by describing the outcome of a young woman presenting with non-ST elevation myocardial infarction. Coronary angiography demonstrated an isolated minor stenosis in the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery with slight haziness beyond the lesion. Intravascular ultrasound confirmed an extensive thrombus overlying a bulky atherosclerotic plaque. A distal filter wire was therefore successfully used to reduce the risk of distal embolization. The use of intravascular ultrasound in patients presenting with acute coronary syndrome may reveal large thrombi that are difficult to image using conventional angiographic techniques. Intravascular ultrasound can therefore be used as a tool to select lesions requiring distal protection.

Original publication




Journal article


Cardiovasc Ultrasound

Publication Date





Adult, Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary, Chest Pain, Coronary Stenosis, Coronary Thrombosis, Female, Humans, Prognosis, Surgery, Computer-Assisted, Treatment Outcome, Ultrasonography, Interventional