Coronary Pressure Wire Assessment

Coronary pressure wire assessment objectively defines whether a narrowing in a heart artery is causing symptoms

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What is coronary pressure wire assessment?

During an invasive coronary angiogram, a pressure measurement wire is placed into the narrowed heart artery. We can then measure with accuracy whether the narrowing is causing a problem. In some cases, we will need to administer a vasodilating medication before we take our measurements.

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Why would you need coronary pressure wire assessment?

During an invasive coronary angiogram, narrowing of the heart arteries may be diagnosed which has resulted either in a heart attack or causes angina. Frequently however, it may be difficult for a cardiologist to determine by eye alone whether a narrowing is truly causing a problem. In such cases pressure wire assessment provides objective evidence of whether there is a significant narrowing.

Frequently asked questions

Other than discomfort that can occasionally occur during an invasive coronary angiogram, a pressure wire assessment does require the use of a vasodilating medication in about 1/3rd of patients. This will cause chest tightness and breathlessness but this sensation lasts only 1-2 minutes, is generally mild in nature and does not indicate any problem. Dr Shand will explain what is happening in advance of the administration of this medication

In patients with a history of severe asthma, the medication we use can precipitate an asthma attack. Whilst acute asthma is a treatable condition, Dr Shand and his team will ask you in advance of any procedure if you do have severe asthma and an alternative investigation may be recommended. As a wire is being placed in the heart artery, there is a very small risk of damage to the artery which is in almost all cases managed conservatively or treated with stent implantation.

Implanting a stent in a coronary (heart) artery is very effective at relieving symptoms and in certain cases improving overall prognosis. However, implantation of a stent into a coronary artery that does not require treatment can have detrimental consequences months or years down the line with no benefit. Pressure wire assessment allows Dr Shand to accurately assess which arteries require treatment and reduces the overall requirement for stent treatment.

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