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      Fractional Flow Reserve versus Angiography for Guiding Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

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          In patients with multivessel coronary artery disease who are undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), coronary angiography is the standard method for guiding the placement of the stent. It is unclear whether routine measurement of fractional flow reserve (FFR; the ratio of maximal blood flow in a stenotic artery to normal maximal flow), in addition to angiography, improves outcomes. In 20 medical centers in the United States and Europe, we randomly assigned 1005 patients with multivessel coronary artery disease to undergo PCI with implantation of drug-eluting stents guided by angiography alone or guided by FFR measurements in addition to angiography. Before randomization, lesions requiring PCI were identified on the basis of their angiographic appearance. Patients assigned to angiography-guided PCI underwent stenting of all indicated lesions, whereas those assigned to FFR-guided PCI underwent stenting of indicated lesions only if the FFR was 0.80 or less. The primary end point was the rate of death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and repeat revascularization at 1 year. The mean (+/-SD) number of indicated lesions per patient was 2.7+/-0.9 in the angiography group and 2.8+/-1.0 in the FFR group (P=0.34). The number of stents used per patient was 2.7+/-1.2 and 1.9+/-1.3, respectively (P<0.001). The 1-year event rate was 18.3% (91 patients) in the angiography group and 13.2% (67 patients) in the FFR group (P=0.02). Seventy-eight percent of the patients in the angiography group were free from angina at 1 year, as compared with 81% of patients in the FFR group (P=0.20). Routine measurement of FFR in patients with multivessel coronary artery disease who are undergoing PCI with drug-eluting stents significantly reduces the rate of the composite end point of death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and repeat revascularization at 1 year. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00267774.) 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society

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              Measurement of fractional flow reserve to assess the functional severity of coronary-artery stenoses.

              The clinical significance of coronary-artery stenoses of moderate severity can be difficult to determine. Myocardial fractional flow reserve (FFR) is a new index of the functional severity of coronary stenoses that is calculated from pressure measurements made during coronary arteriography. We compared this index with the results of noninvasive tests commonly used to detect myocardial ischemia, to determine the usefulness of the index. In 45 consecutive patients with moderate coronary stenosis and chest pain of uncertain origin, we performed bicycle exercise testing, thallium scintigraphy, stress echocardiography with dobutamine, and quantitative coronary arteriography and compared the results with measurements of FFR. In all 21 patients with an FFR of less than 0.75, reversible myocardial ischemia was demonstrated unequivocally on at least one noninvasive test. After coronary angioplasty or bypass surgery was performed, all the positive test results reverted to normal. In contrast, 21 of the 24 patients with an FFR of 0.75 or higher tested negative for reversible myocardial ischemia on all the noninvasive tests. No revascularization procedures were performed in these patients, and none were required during 14 months of follow-up. The sensitivity of FFR in the identification of reversible ischemia was 88 percent, the specificity 100 percent, the positive predictive value 100 percent, the negative predictive value 88 percent, and the accuracy 93 percent. In patients with coronary stenosis of moderate severity, FFR appears to be a useful index of the functional severity of the stenoses and the need for coronary revascularization.

                Author and article information

                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                January 15 2009
                January 15 2009
                : 360
                : 3
                : 213-224
                © 2009


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