Assessing the left main stem in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. What is "significant"? Function, imaging or both?
Kassimis G., de Maria GL., Patel N., Raina T., Scott P., Kharbanda RK., Banning AP.
Revascularization of significant Left Main Stem (LMS) disease improves clinical outcomes. This can be achieved through either Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting or Percutaneous coronary intervention. Defining a significant stenosis of the LMS can be challenging and debatable, as most data have been derived using angiographic assessment alone, with a threshold of 50% luminal stenosis used as a marker of functional significance. The use of adjunctive technologies like Intravascular Ultrasound and Fractional Flow Reserve has improved our ability to accurately assess the anatomical severity and physiological significance of coronary artery stenoses, much more so, than can be achieved through conventional angiography alone. An improved assessment of LMS disease through these adjunctive techniques offers procedural and clinical benefits. Rather than focus on the preferred methods of revascularisation, this article aims to highlight the common pitfalls and misconceptions in the assessment of LMS stenoses. We also propose a simple algorithm for the assessment of LMS disease to help guide revascularisation decisions.