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Washout collaterometry: a new method of assessing collaterals using angiographic contrast clearance during coronary occlusion
  1. C Seiler,
  2. M Billinger,
  3. M Fleisch,
  4. B Meier
  1. Cardiology, Swiss Cardiovascular Centre Bern, University Hospital, Inselspital, Freiburgstrasse, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland
  1. Professor Seilerchristian.seiler.cardio{at}


OBJECTIVE To investigate the hypothesis that the time to washout of radiographic contrast medium trapped distal to an occluded collateral receiving vessel is inversely related to collateral flow, and that this provides an accurate method for characterising coronary collaterals.

METHODS An intracoronary pressure derived collateral flow index was determined in 54 patients undergoing percutaneous transluminal coronary balloon angioplasty (PTCA). The study group was subdivided according to whether the collateral vessels were sufficient (n = 17) or insufficient (n = 37) to prevent ECG signs of myocardial ischaemia during PTCA. Washout collaterometry—an angiographic washout method—was carried out simultaneously; after injection of radiographic contrast medium into the collateral receiving vessel followed immediately by vascular occlusion, the number of heart beats was counted until approximately half the length of the epicardial vessel was cleared of contrast.

RESULTS The collateral flow index was higher (0.28 (0.09) v 0.12 (0.07); p < 0.0001) and the contrast washout time shorter (8.0 (2.9)v 17.5 (6.7) heart beats; p < 0.0001) in patients with sufficient versus insufficient collaterals. There was an inverse correlation between contrast washout time and collateral flow index (r = 0.72, p < 0.0001). Washout of contrast distal to the occluded vessel within 11 heart beats correctly determined sufficient and insufficient collaterals with 88% sensitivity and 81% specificity.

CONCLUSIONS Washout collaterometry is a new radiographic contrast washout method based on the inverse relation between collateral flow and the time to clearance of radiographic dye injected into the ipsilateral vessel during PTCA. It appears to be an accurate method of characterising coronary collateral vessels.

  • coronary artery disease
  • collateral circulation
  • coronary angiography

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