Aims: Pre- and post-interventional optical coherence tomography (OCT) assessment of degenerated saphenous vein grafts (SVG) treated with implantation of pericardium covered stents.
Percutaneous treatment of SVG represents one of the major challenges of current percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI). Artificial membrane-covered stents have failed to show additional benefit over conventional stents.
Methods and results: Six cases of PCI of de novo lesions in degenerated SVGs were successfully treated with a novel pericardium covered stent (PCS). Successful deployment was achieved in all cases. Large emboli were retrieved in a distal filter in one case with a long degenerated lesion. Pre- and post- interventional OCT was performed to assess the lesion characteristics and vessel diameter before stenting and the pericardium layer integrity, strut apposition and presence of plaque prolapse after stenting. In order to better understand the OCT images, three PCS of different diameters were deployed in silicone tubes of 700 µm thickness wall with inner tube diameter matching the stent diameter. OCT was repeated after spreading a thin layer of gel inside the tube, mimicking the toothpaste-like plaque observed in SVG. In vivo and in vitro OCT images excluded the presence of plaque prolapse in all but one case and detected a characteristic pattern with bulging of the pericardium between struts, possibly due to trapping of soft intraluminal plaque (or gel) behind the pericardial layer
Conclusions: These cases offer insight into the mechanism of protection against distal embolisation, elucidated by the appearance of these stents after deployment in vivo and in vitro.