Is chronically dysfunctional yet viable myocardium distal to a severe coronary stenosis hypoperfused?

G. Chad Hughes, Carolyn K. Landolfo, Bangliang Yin, Timothy R. DeGrado, R. Edward Coleman, Kevin P. Landolfo, James E. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background. Controversy exists regarding the perfusion status of chronically dysfunctional yet viable myocardium. Studies investigating the pathophysiology of this condition have reached different conclusions, with some suggesting that myocardial blood flow (MBF) in these regions is normal at rest with regional dysfunction resulting from repetitive stress-induced ischemia (stunned myocardium), whereas others have proposed that MBF is chronically reduced at rest (hibernating myocardium). However, adequately powered experimental studies investigating this question in an appropriate animal model using clinically available techniques have not been performed. Based on the mixed results of prior studies, we hypothesized that these chronically dysfunctional yet viable regions may actually represent a mixture of hibernation and stunning. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to quantitatively determine the distribution of MBF in left ventricular regions with chronically impaired resting function but preserved viability in a large population of animals with single-vessel coronary stenosis in an attempt to further elucidate the mechanism(s) responsible for chronic, reversible myocardial dysfunction. Methods. Fifty-two adult mini-swine with 90% proximal left circumflex (LCx) stenosis underwent dynamic positron emission tomography (PET) with 13N-ammonia and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose and dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) (5 to 40 μg/kg/min) 1 month after stenosis creation. Values of MBF and FDG uptake by PET and wall motion score index (WMSI) by DSE were compared using a standard 16-segment model. Results. Of 312 possible LCx segments seen on PET, 303 (97.1%) were visualized by DSE. Of the 303 LCx segments, 279 (92.1%) had rest dysfunction (WMSI ≥ 2) by DSE. One hundred eighty-two segments (60.1%) had decreased (< 85% reference) MBF at rest with preserved to increased (> 60% reference) FDG uptake and were classified as hibernating. Ninety-two segments (30.4%) had preserved MBF (≥ 85% reference) and were classified as stunned. Five segments (1.7%) with reduced (≤ 60% reference) FDG uptake by PET and akinesis or dyskinesis at rest (WMSI ≥ 3) and no contractile reserve were considered infarcted. Hibernating segments had significantly higher FDG uptake at rest (360.7 ± 48.3 vs 212.3 ± 17.7% septal values; p < 0.001) than stunned segments consistent with greater resting ischemia. Likewise, mean rest WMSI was also worse in hibernating versus stunned segments (2.35 ± 0.04 vs 2.13 ± 0.04; p < 0.001). There was no difference in the percentage of hibernating versus stunned segments exhibiting contractile reserve during dobutamine infusion (55.5 vs 63.7%; p = 0.4), indicating similar degrees of viability. Conclusions. Myocardial hibernation and stunning appear to frequently coexist in regions served by a stenotic coronary vessel. Hibernating regions appear to have greater resting ischemia based on higher values of FDG uptake and greater resting dysfunction. Reversible left ventricular dysfunction in the setting of chronic coronary artery disease is likely due to a combination of these two mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Is chronically dysfunctional yet viable myocardium distal to a severe coronary stenosis hypoperfused?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this