Prolonged thrombin inhibition reduces restenosis after balloon angioplasty in porcine coronary arteries

Richard Gallo, Adrian Padurean, Vincenzo Toschi, Johan Bichler, John T. Fallon, James H. Chesebro, Valentin Fuster, Juan J. Badimon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Background - Arterial injury after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) triggers acute thrombus formation and thrombin generation. Hirudin, a potent and direct thrombin inhibitor, prevents thrombus formation after arterial injury. Two large clinical trials showed marked reduction in acute clinical events but no long-term benefits in reducing restenosis during short-term administration of thrombin inhibitors. Our hypothesis is that adequate, maintained thrombin inhibition, by inhibiting all the thrombin- dependent mechanisms, will reduce neointima formation after PTCA. Methods and Results - Thirty-six pigs received three different regimens of hirudin: bolus (1 mg/kg), short-term (bolus+0.7 mg/kg per day for 2 days), and long-term (bolus+0.7 mg/kg per day for 14 days). The results on neointima formation at 4 weeks after coronary angioplasty were compared with the control group (100 IU heparin/kg bolus). Hirudin was continuously administered for 2 weeks through an infusion pump. In vivo thrombin generation was persistently increased up to 2 weeks after angioplasty. Inhibition of thrombin activity for 14 days reduced luminal narrowing by 40% (58±3% versus 35±3%; P<.001). No differences were observed among the bolus and short-term hirudin groups and the control group. Conclusions - Our results indicate that there is a continued, marked thrombin generation that lasts for at least 2 weeks after PTCA. Administration of r-hirudin for 2 weeks significantly reduces neointima formation after PTCA. This observation, if extrapolated to humans, could explain the lack of effect on restenosis observed in the clinical trials with antithrombin agents despite the clear benefits on reducing acute thrombotic complications after PTCA. Therefore an adequate and prolonged administration of thrombin inhibitors is needed to 'passivate' the thrombogenic substrate (disrupted arterial wall) and achieve full benefit of this therapeutic approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-588
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - 17 Feb 1998


  • Angioplasty
  • Restenosis
  • Thrombin inhibition


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