Background - Limitations of coronary thrombolysis include the time to reperfusion, patency rate, and bleeding. We evaluated the use of noninvasive transcutaneous ultrasound to augment coronary thrombolysis. Methods and Results - In 24 dogs, a thrombotic occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery was induced and documented by 12-lead ECG and coronary angiography. After ≥60 minutes of occlusion, tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA; 1.42 mg/kg) was given intravenously over 90 minutes. A total of 12 of the 24 dogs had concomitant transcutaneous application of low- frequency ultrasound (27 kHz) over the chest. At 90 minutes, the mean TIMI grade flow in the t-PA alone group was 0.92±1.4 compared with 2.42±1.9 in the t-PA plus ultrasound group (P=0.006). TIMI 2 to 3 flow was present in 4 of 12 cases receiving t-PA alone compared with 10 of 12 cases receiving t-PA plus ultrasound (P=0.003). At 180 minutes, mean TIMI grade flow was 0.75±1.4 in the t-PA alone group versus 2.58±0.9 in the t-PA plus ultrasound group (P= 0.001). Pathological examination confirmed the angiographic patency rate and did not reveal injury secondary to ultrasound in the skin, soft tissues, heart, or lungs. Conclusions - In vivo, the noninvasive transthoracic application of low-frequency ultrasound (1) greatly augments the efficacy of t-PA-mediated thrombolysis, (2) seems safe, and (3) has substantial potential as a noninvasive adjunct to improve coronary patency without increasing the risk of bleeding.
- Myocardial infarction