Determinants of infarct size in reperfusion therapy for acute myocardial infarction

Timothy F. Christian, Robert S. Schwartz, Raymond J. Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

218 Scopus citations


Background. Experimental animal studies have demonstrated that myocardium at risk, residual collateral flow, and duration of coronary artery occlusion are important determinants of final infarct size. The present study examined these variables in patients with acute myocardial infarction in relation to final infarct size. Methods and Results. Myocardium at risk was assessed with hexakis(2-methoxyisobutyl isonitrile) technetium (I) (99mTc sestamibi) in 89 patients with first-time myocardial infarction (anterior, 48 patients; inferior, 41 patients). All patients had successful reperfusion therapy with either intravenous thrombolysis (32 patients) or primary coronary angioplasry (57 patients) within 24 hours of the onset of chest pain (4.7±3.9 hours; range, 0.5-21.5 hours) documented by coronary angiography. 99mTc sestamibi was injected intravenously before reperfusion therapy, and tomographic imaging was performed 1-6 hours later. Myocardium at risk was quantitated for each patient and expressed as a percentage of the left ventricle: 35±19%; range, 2-73%. Collateral flow was estimated by both invasive and noninvasive methods. Fifty-three patients with TIMI grade 0 or I flow who underwent primary coronary angioplasty had collateral flow graded angiographically (0-3) before the first balloon inflation. All patients had collateral flow estimated noninvasively from the acute sestamibi short-axis profile curve by three methods that assess the severity of the perfusion defect. Each of these three methods was significantly associated with angiographic collateral grade. Final infarct size was determined at hospital discharge by a second sestamibi study (17±17%; range, 0-59%). Myocardium at risk (r=0.61, p<0.0001), angiographic collateral grade (p=0.0003), and radionuclide estimates of collateral flow (r=0.69-0.70, all p<0.0001) were all significantly associated with final infarct size. The time to reperfusion therapy was not significantly associated with final infarct size by univariate analysis (r=0.18, p=0.10). Two multivariate models were constructed to determine which variables were independently associated with final infarct size. In the invasive model, myocardium at risk, angiographic collateral grade with an interaction term for infarct location, and time to reperfusion were all independently significant and accounted for 70% of the variability in final infarct size. The noninvasive model, which substituted a radionuclide estimate of collateral flow for angiographic collateral grade, showed nearly identical results, accounting for 68% of the variability in infarct size in patients where the infarct artery was known to be occluded. When all patients were included (patients with and without acute angiography), the noninvasive model accounted for 59% of the variability in infarct size. Conclusions. Myocardium at risk, collateral flow, and duration of coronary occlusion are each independently associated with final infarct size and account for most of its variability. Ideally, all three parameters should be examined in evaluation of the efficacy of new treatment strategies for acute myocardial infarction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1992


  • Collateral circulation
  • Radionuclide imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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