Percutaneous coronary intervention and the no-reflow phenomenon.
van Gaal WJ., Banning AP.
No-reflow during percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is observed most commonly during saphenous vein graft intervention, rotational atherectomy and primary PCI for acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction. The contributions of distal embolization and ischemia/reperfusion injury to the pathogenesis of no-reflow vary in these settings, as does prevention and management. Prevention of no-reflow in these high-risk groups is the best treatment strategy, employing antiplatelet agents, vasodilators and/or mechanical devices to prevent distal embolization. Once mechanical factors are excluded as a cause for reduced epicardial flow, the treatment of established no-reflow is mainly pharmacologic, since the obstruction occurs at the level of the microvasculature. Compared with patients in whom no-reflow is transient, refractory no-reflow is associated with a markedly increased risk of 30-day mortality.