Relationship between arterial diameter and perfused tissue volume in myocardial microcirculation: A micro-CT-based analysis

Nasser M. Malyar, Mario Gössl, Patricia E. Beighley, Erik L. Ritman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The volume of myocardial tissue that is perfused by an epicardial coronary artery has been shown to be predictably related to the diameter of the epicardial arterial lumen. However, to what extent the intramyocardial microvasculature follows the epicardial rules remains unclear. To explore the relationship between the diameter of coronary arterioles and their subsequent perfused myocardial volumes, we quantified the volume of nonperfused myocardium resulting from an embolized arteriole of a certain diameter. We injected a single dose of microspheres selected from one of nine possible microsphere combinations (10, 30, and 100 μm diameter, each at three possible doses) into the left anterior descending coronary and/or left circumflex arteries of seven anesthetized pigs. At postmortem, the coronary arteries were infused with a radiopaque silicon polymer. Embolized myocardium (1 cm3) was scanned with a microcomputerized tomography scanner and resulted in three-dimensional images that consisted of 20 μm/side cubic voxels and a subvolume of the specimen with 4 μm/side cubic voxels. Image analysis provided the number and volumes of myocardial perfusion defects for each size and dose of microspheres. The smallest individual myocardial perfusion defects, which correspond to the volume of myocardium perfused by a single embolized arteriole, were found to be 0.0004 ± 0.0002, 0.02 ± 0.004, and 0.62 ± 0.099 mm3 for the 10-, 30-, and 100-μm microspheres, respectively. The number of myocardial perfusion defects in the embolized myocardium was inversely related to the dose of the injected microspheres. This reflects a clustering behavior that is consistent with a random distribution process of the individual embolized perfusion defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2386-H2392
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 55-6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Coronary
  • Defect
  • Microcomputer tomography
  • Microspheres
  • Perfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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