Magnitude and time course of microvascular obstruction and tissue injury after acute myocardial infarction

Carlos E. Rochitte, João A.C. Lima, David A. Bluemke, Scott B. Reeder, Elliot R. McVeigh, Toshiya Furuta, Lewis C. Becker, Jacques A. Melin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

420 Scopus citations


Background - Microvascular obstruction within an area of myocardial infarction indicates worse functional recovery and a higher risk of postinfarction complications. After prolonged coronary occlusion, contrast- enhanced MRI identifies myocardial infarction as a hyperenhanced region containing a hypoenhanced core. Because the time course of microvascular obstruction after infarction/reperfusion is unknown, we examined whether microvascular obstruction reaches its full extent shortly after reperfusion or shows significant progression over the following 2 days. Methods and Results - Seven dogs underwent 90-minute balloon occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) followed by reflow. Gadolinium- DTPA-enhanced MRI performed at 2, 6, and 48 hours after reperfusion was compared with radioactive microsphere blood flow (MBF) measurements and myocardial staining to define microvascular obstruction (thioflavin S) and infarct size (triphenyltetrazolium chloride, TTC). The MRI hypoenhanced region increased 3-fold during 48 hours after reperfusion (3.2±1.8%, 6.7±4.4%, and 9.9±3.2% of left ventricular mass at 2, 6, and 48 hours, respectively, P < 0.03) and correlated well with microvascular obstruction (MBF <50% of remote region, r=0.99 and thioflavin S, r=0.93). MRI hyperenhancement also increased (21.7±4.0%, 24.3±4.6%, and 28.8±5.1% at 2, 6, and 48 hours, P < 0.006) and correlated well with infarct size by TTC (r=0.92). The microvascular obstruction/infarct size ratio increased from 13.0±4.8% to 22.6±8.9% and to 30.4±4.2% over 48 hours (P=0.024). Conclusions - The extent of microvascular obstruction and the infarct size increase significantly over the first 48 hours after myocardial infarction. These results are consistent with progressive microvascular and myocardial injury well beyond coronary occlusion and reflow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1014
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 8 1998


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Microcirculation
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Perfusion
  • Reperfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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