What is the prevalence of restenosis following percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and how is it treated?

Updated: Nov 27, 2019
  • Author: George A Stouffer, III, MD; Chief Editor: Karlheinz Peter, MD, PhD  more...
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After balloon angioplasty or stent implantation, the vessel wall undergoes a number of changes. Platelets and fibrin adhere to the site within minutes of vessel injury. Within hours to days, inflammatory cells infiltrate the site, and vascular smooth muscle cells begin to migrate toward the lumen.

The vascular smooth muscle cells then undergo hypertrophy and excrete an extensive extracellular matrix. During this period of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, endothelial cells colonize the surface of the lumen and regain their normal function.

Over the course of several weeks to months, multiple forces interact to cause remodeling of the vessel wall with either a decrease in lumen diameter (negative remodeling) or an increase in lumen diameter (positive remodeling). The amount of late loss in lumen diameter is dependent on the amount of neointimal proliferation and the degree of remodeling after intervention (see the image below). After 6 months, the repair process stabilizes and the risk of restenosis decreases significantly.

Mechanism of restenosis following percutaneous tra Mechanism of restenosis following percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA).

Several studies have shown that the lumen diameter or area after treatment is one of the major predictors of restenosis. The use of coronary artery stents has decreased the rate of restenosis by improving the acute gain achieved and by minimizing negative remodeling.

Depending on the definition used, angiographic restenosis has been reported in as many as 50% of patients within 6 months after balloon angioplasty, necessitating repeat target-vessel revascularization in approximately 20-30% of patients. As noted (see above), DESs have reduced restenosis rates to less than 10%. Poststenting lumen diameter and lesion complexity are still the major predictors of restenosis with these newer stents.

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