Nineteen of 69 patients undergoing coronary angioplasty required immediate coronary surgery after the procedure. Six of these operations were planned as a result of angioplasty that failed without producing any complication. The remaining 13 cases were operated upon because complications occurred during angioplasty. These were coronary artery dissection in four, occlusion in five, continuing severe spasm in two, tamponade in one, and in one other detachment of a guidewire tip. In these 13 cases the vessel in which angioplasty had been attempted was the left anterior descending coronary artery in eight, the right in four, and the circumflex artery in one. This distribution was no different from that in the 56 patients without complications. There was one early postoperative death due to extensive anterior myocardial infarction, and there was electrocardiographic evidence of new infarction in three other patients. A mean of 16 months postoperatively, 16 of the 18 surviving patients had no cardiac symptoms, while angina had improved in the remaining two. Sixteen of the 18 patients had nuclear left ventricular angiography after a mean of 27 months. When the results of this investigation were compared with the left ventricular cineangiograms performed before angioplasty was attempted only two patients showed evidence of a new left ventricular wall motion abnormality. Prompt operation after complications of angioplasty is usually successful with good symptomatic relief and without left ventricular damage. The incidence of complications requiring operation, however, was high in this group of patients, most of whom had single vessel coronary artery disease.
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