Current status of rotational atherectomy

Erdal Cavusoglu, Annapoorna S. Kini, Jonathan D. Marmur, Samin K. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Despite the increasing use of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and intracoronary stent placement for the treatment of obstructive coronary artery disease, a large subset of coronary lesions cannot be adequately treated with balloon angioplasty and/or intracoronary stenting alone. Such lesions are often heavily calcified or fibrotic and undilatable with the present balloon technology and attempts to treat them with balloon angioplasty or intracoronary stent placement often lead to vessel dissection or incomplete stent deployment with resultant adverse outcomes. Rotational atherectomy remains a useful niche device for the percutaneous treatment of such complex lesions, usually as an adjunct to subsequent balloon angioplasty and/or intracoronary stent placement. In contrast to balloon angioplasty or stent placement that widen the coronary lumen by displacing atherosclerotic plaque, rotational atherectomy removes plaque by ablating the atherosclerotic material, which is dispersed into the distal coronary circulation. Other lesion subtypes amenable to treatment with this modality include ostial and branch-ostial lesions, chronic total occlusions, and in-stent restenosis. This review discusses the technique and principles of rotational atherectomy, the various treatment strategies for its use (including adjunctive pharmacotherapy), the lesion-specific applications for this device, and the complications unique to this modality. Recommendations are also made for its use in the current interventional era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-498
Number of pages14
JournalCatheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Calcification
  • Complex lesions
  • Rotational atherectomy


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