Coronary angioscopy is a new diagnostic imaging technique in which optic fibres are used to directly observe the intracoronary lumen. Angioscopy provides a full colour, high resolution, three-dimensional image of the intracoronary artery surface morphology. Studies using angioscopy revealed that the frequency of coronary thrombi in patients with acute coronary syndromes was higher than previous studies, based on arteriography, had reported. Arteriographic recognition of thrombus in unstable angina was from 1.3% to 5286. On the other hand, thrombi were observed in 88% by angioscopy in patients with rest angina in our study. Whereas ordinary arteriography provides only two-dimensional black and white images, angioscopy can distinguish between a thrombus and a plaque, even if the clot is very small. In a study of 17 unstable angina and 22 myocardial infarction patients, the frequencies of coronary thrombi in the two groups were essentially the same. Grayish-white thrombi were observed in most of the unstable angina patients but in none of the infarction patients. On the other hand, red or mixed red and white thrombi were observed in all infarction patients but in only a few unstable angina patients. This difference may account for the contrasting results of thrombolytic therapy.
- acute coronary syndrome
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