Left Ventricular Remodeling After Myocardial Infarction
Pathophysiology and Therapy
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Left ventricular remodeling is the process by which ventricular size, shape, and function are regulated by mechanical, neurohormonal, and genetic factors.1 2 Remodeling may be physiological and adaptive during normal growth or pathological due to myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, or valvular heart disease (Figure 1⇓). This article will review postinfarction remodeling, pathophysiological mechanisms, and therapeutic intervention.
Postinfarction Left Ventricular Remodeling
The acute loss of myocardium results in an abrupt increase in loading conditions that induces a unique pattern of remodeling involving the infarcted border zone and remote noninfarcted myocardium. Myocyte necrosis and the resultant increase in load trigger a cascade of biochemical intracellular signaling processes that initiates and subsequently modulates reparative changes, which include dilatation, hypertrophy, and the formation of a discrete collagen scar. Ventricular remodeling may continue for weeks or months until the distending forces are counterbalanced by the tensile strength of the collagen scar. This balance is determined by the size, location, and transmurality of the infarct, the extent of myocardial stunning, the patency of the infarct-related artery, and local tropic factors.1 3
The myocardium consists of 3 integrated components: myocytes, extracellular matrix, and the capillary microcirculation that services the contractile unit assembly. Consideration of all 3 components provides important insights into the remodeling process and a rationale for future therapeutic strategies. The cardiomyocyte is terminally differentiated and develops tension by shortening. The extracellular matrix provides a stress-tolerant, viscoelastic scaffold consisting of type I and type III collagen that couples myocytes and maintains the spatial relations between the myofilaments and their capillary microcirculation.4 5 The collagen framework couples adjacent myocytes by intercellular struts that …