For accurate measurement of the fractional flow reserve (FFR) of the myocardium, the presence of maximum hyperemia is of paramount importance. It has been suggested that the hyperemic effect of the conventionally used hyperemic stimulus, adenosine, could be submaximal in patients who have microvascular dysfunction and that adding α-blocking agents could augment the hyperemic response in these patients. We studied the effect of the nonselective α-blocking agent phentolamine, which was administered in addition to adenosine after achieving hyperemia, in patients who had microvascular disease and those who did not. Thirty patients who were referred for percutaneous coronary intervention were selected. Of these 30 patients, 15 had strong indications for microvascular disease and 15 did not. FFR was measured using intracoronary adenosine, intravenous adenosine, and intracoronary papaverine before and after intracoronary administration of the nonselective α blocker phentolamine. In patients who did not have microvascular disease, no differences in hyperemic response to adenosine were noted, whether or not α blockade was given before adenosine administration; FFR levels before and after phentolamine were 0.76 and 0.75, respectively, using intracoronary adenosine (p = 0.10) and 0.75 and 0.74, respectively, using intravenous adenosine (p = 0.20). In contrast, in patients who had microvascular disease, some increase in hyperemic response was observed after administration of phentolamine; FFR levels decreased from 0.74 to 0.70 using intracoronary adenosine (p = 0.003) and from 0.75 to 0.72 using intravenous adenosine (p = 0.04). Although statistically significant, the observed further decrease in microvascular resistance after addition of phentolamine was small and did not affect clinical decision making in any patient. In conclusion, when measuring FFR, routinely adding an α-blocking agent to adenosine does not affect clinical decision making. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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