Background Stenting of large lipid core plaques (LCPs), as assessed by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), has been associated with periprocedural myocardial infarction (MI), possibly due to distal embolization. Methods An embolic protection device (EPD) was inserted before stenting in nine native coronary arteries with large LCP, as assessed by NIRS. Embolized material was assessed by histopathology. Results Mean age was 64 +/- 7 years and all patients were men. The target lesion was located in the right (67%) or left anterior descending (33%) coronary artery. A filter was utilized in eight patients (89%) and proximal embolic protection in one (11%). In one patient two filters were required because the originally placed filter became obstructed with debris after initial stent placement. The mean percent angiographic stenosis prestenting and poststenting was 87% +/- 9% and 2% +/- 4%, respectively and final TIMI 3 flow was achieved in all patients. Embolized material was retrieved in eight of nine patients (89%) and consisted mainly of platelet and fibrin thrombi. The mean target segment lipid core burden index decreased from 395 +/- 114 before stenting to 152 +/- 106 after stenting (P < 0.001) and the lesion angular extent decreased from 312 degrees +/- 70 degrees to 240 degrees +/- 90 degrees (P = 0.07). Postprocedural MI occurred in two of nine patients (22%), in one of whom two filters were required. Conclusion Use of EPDs frequently resulted in embolized material retrieval after stenting of native coronary artery lesions with large LCPs. These findings support further study of EPDs as a means to prevent poststenting MI. (C) 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.