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Expert review

Directional coronary atherectomy: a time for reflection. Should we let it go?

1. Division of Cardiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 2. Cardiac MR PET CT Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

A series of interventional tools have emerged since the advent of percutaneous coronary angioplasty. Several are fundamental and used routinely, while others less favourable have fallen short of mainstream therapy and/or have settled as a niche device. We present an overview of the evolution of directional coronary atherectomy (DCA), a unique device that was originally conceived in 1984 to solve the limitations of balloon angioplasty. Unfortunately, we have witnessed its use fall significantly out of favour due to premature and controversial study results. In many interventional laboratories DCA is no longer available. However, we strongly feel that allowing DCA to join the list of extinct interventional tools would be very unfortunate. We, herein, present a series of complex percutaneous coronary procedures to illustrate the convenience of DCA use as a lesion-specific niche device. Finally, DCA offers a valuable distinct clinical research function as it allows for in vivo pathological coronary tissue examination. In conclusion, we plead for its continued production and use as an interventional niche device for the wellbeing of our patients.

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