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Is Atherothromboaspiration a Possible Solution for the Prevention of No-Reflow Phenomenon in Acute Coronary Syndromes? Single Centre Experience and Review of the Literature

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 2 ]


Antonis S. Manolis*   Pages 164 - 179 ( 16 )


Background: Intracoronary thrombus in acute Myocardial Infarction (MI) confers higher rates of no-reflow with attendant adverse consequences. Earlier Randomized-Controlled-Trials (RCTs) of routine thromboaspiration during Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) indicated a clinical benefit, but more recent RCTs were negative. However, data of selective use of this adjunctive approach remain scarce.

Objective: The aim of this single-centre prospective study was to report the results of selective thromboaspiration during PCI in patients with intracoronary thrombi, and also to provide an extensive literature review on current status of thromboaspiration.

Methods: The study included 90 patients (77 men; aged 59.3±12.7 years) presenting with acute MI (STElevation MI (STEMI) in 74, non-STEMI in 16) who had intracoronary thrombi and were submitted to thromboaspiration.

Results: Total (n=67) or subtotal (n=18) vessel occlusions were present in 85 (94%) patients. Thromboaspiration and subsequent PCI were successful in 89/90 (98.9%) patients, with coronary stenting in 86 (96.6%). In 4 patients with residual thrombus, a mesh-covered stent was implanted. IIb/IIIa-inhibitors were administered in 57 (63.3%) patients. No-reflow occurred in only 1 (1.1%) patient. The postprocedural course was uneventful. Review of the literature revealed several early observational and RCTs and meta-analyses favouring manual, not mechanical, thrombectomy. However, newer RCTs and meta-analyses significantly curtailed the initial enthusiasm for the clinical benefits of routine use of thromboaspiration.

Conclusion: Selective thromboaspiration for angiographically visible thrombi in MI patients undergoing PCI, as an adjunct to mechanical reperfusion and to IIb/IIIa-inhibitors, may be an option since this manoeuvre may improve procedural and clinical outcome.


Coronary thrombus, ST-elevation myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndromes, non-ST elevation myocardial infarction, thrombus aspiration, thrombectomy, percutaneous coronary intervention, coronary stenting, no-reflow phenomenon, distal coronary embolization.


Third Department of Cardiology, Athens University School of Medicine, Sotiria Hospital, Athens

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