• thrombus aspiration;
  • ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction;
  • primary percutaneous intervention;
  • pathology;
  • prognosis


Background: In some patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) who underwent primary percutanous coronary intervention (pPCI) with thrombus aspiration, residual stenosis after thrombus aspiration is non-significant and additional balloon dilatation or stent placement may be unnecessary. We investigated the angiographic, procedural, and clinical outcomes of these patients in our single center pPCI-database. In addition, to gain insight in the pathological mechanisms of coronary thrombosis in these patients, we established the histopathological characteristics and age of the aspirated material. Methods: This study consists of STEMI patients who underwent pPCI with thrombus aspiration alone in our institution. Thrombus material was collected and processed and the sections were analyzed for the presence of fresh (<1 day) or older thrombus (>1 day) and plaque components. One year clinical follow-up was obtained and vital status was assessed up to March 2010. Results: We identified 16 STEMI patients who underwent thrombus aspiration alone as the definitive treatment during pPCI. Acceptable flow with minimal non-significant residual stenosis immediately after thrombus aspiration was present in 14 patients (88%). In four patients (25%) repeat angiography was performed after several days and disappearance of the residual thrombus could be confirmed in three patients. During follow-up, repeat target lesion revascularization was performed in one patient at 53 days. No recurrent myocardial infarction was observed. Two patients died 1,166 and 1,228 days after the index-event from non-cardiac causes. Conclusions: In selected STEMI patients undergoing pPCI, thrombus aspiration alone is feasible and safe on the short-term and there appears to be no high risk of recurrent ischemic events during follow-up. Our results suggest that additional balloon inflation or stent implantation may be unnecessary in selected patients, when there is no significant residual stenosis after thrombus aspiration. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.