Distribution of Pulmonary Blood Flow after Myocardial Ischemia and Infarction
Regional distribution of pulmonary blood flow and ventilation was determined with the 133xenon technic in the erect position at the bedside in 15 patients an average of 6 days after uncomplicated myocardial infarction (MI) and in five patients with severe angina in the same coronary care unit. Follow-up studies were repeated within 3 to 25 weeks on six of the patients with MI.
There was marked reduction in perfusion to the lung base after myocardial infarction. Patients with severe angina showed some underperfusion of the lower lung zones, but to a much less degree than those with acute MI. The pattern of pulmonary perfusion reverted toward that seen in angina in the follow-up studies of patients with MI. Distribution of ventilation was normal in all patients.
The results of the study suggest that there are probably chronic changes in the pulmonary vasculature of patients with arteriosclerotic heart disease which lead to redistribution of pulmonary blood flow toward the apex, and that the marked under-perfusion of the lung base demonstrated following acute myocardial infarction reflects an acute increase in the pulmonary venous and interstitial pressures most likely due to occult left ventricular failure.
- Received December 15, 1969.
- Accepted March 4, 1970.
- © 1970 American Heart Association, Inc.