OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of IR on thrombus formation and dissection repair following overstretch balloon injury in porcine coronary arteries. BACKGROUND: Exposure of blood to the injured arterial wall after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) induces thrombus formation and inflammation in the dissection plane. Neointima formation is related to smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and migration into the preformed thrombus. Intracoronary radiation (IR) with doses of 10 to 25 Gy using either beta or gamma emitters can prevent neointima accumulation by reducing SMC proliferation. However, there are some indications that IR may delay the process of dissection repair after PTCA. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of IR on thrombus formation and dissection repair after overstretch balloon injury in porcine coronary arteries. METHODS: Forty porcine coronaries were injured by balloon overstretch followed by either 0 or 18 Gy of 90Y prescribed to 1.2 mm from the balloon center. The animals were euthanized 14 days after treatment, and intimal area (IA) and IA corrected for medial fracture length (IA/FL) were quantified by digital image analysis. Dissections were quantified by tracing the length, thickness and area behind the dissection flap. The rate of dissections was calculated for each group. Thrombi were identified and designated as intraluminal thrombus or thrombus within dissection planes (mural thrombus), and area measurements were obtained. RESULTS: The irradiated group showed a significant reduction of IA/FL (0.55 ± 0.29 vs. 0.05 ± 0.09; p < 0.001). No difference was observed in the rate of dissection between control and irradiated arteries (77% vs. 88%, respectively). The control group showed a smaller dissection area (0.19 ± 0.28 mm2 vs. 0.32 ± 0.29 mm2; p < 0.05) with smaller mural thrombi (0.03 ± 0.01 mm2 vs. 0.29 ± 0.30 mm2; p < 0.001). A strong correlation between dissection area and neointima area was observed only in the control group (R2 = 0.474; p < 0.003; alpha0.05 = 0.862). A positive correlation between mural thrombus and dissection area was observed only in the irradiated group (R2 = 0.889; p < 0.001; alpha0.05 = 1.00). CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the dissection area may be a useful parameter by which to quantify the extent of injury and repair after IR and may indicate an incomplete healing process after IR at this time point. (C) 2000 by the American College of Cardiology.