Determination of the Site, Extent, and Significance of Regional Ventricular Dysfunction during Acute Myocardial Infarction
Infarct site, extent, and the degree of associated asynergy are major determinants of the hemodynamic consequences of myocardial infarction. Although conventional electrocardiography and vectorcardiography are routinely employed in assessing the location and size of infarction, they are relatively nonspecific. The newer techniques of high-frequency electrocardiography and isopotential mapping offer promise but have yet to undergo systematic evaluation. A rough measure of the extent of infarction is obtained from serum enzyme measurements. However, they furnish no information with regard to localization.
The region of infarction may be detected by precordial scanning following the intravenous or intracoronary injection of a radioisotope. The infarct may be revealed as an area of decreased perfusion (cold spot) or as an area to which a specific radioactive label is bound (hot spot). With the availability of newer radionuclides such as 43potassium and the use of computer techniques, a more precise means of localizing and quantifying myocardial infarction may become available.
Optimal definition of asynergy is obtained with contrast angiography. However, the risk of this procedure has limited its use, to date, in acute myocardial infarction. Apex- and kinetocardiography, chest X-ray, and fluoroscopy often suggest regional ventricular dysfunction, but these techniques are not sufficiently specific. Newer noninvasive methods for objectively evaluating regional ventricular dysfunction are ECG-gated cardiac scintiphotography and radarkymography. With ECG-gated scintiphotography, end-diastolic and end-systolic cardiac isotope images are obtained following intravenous injection of 99mtechnetium-albumin. From these images, assessment of asynergy and extent and location of infarct can be made. With radarkymography, heart-wall motion is assessed and quantitated by tracking segments of the cardiac silhouette visualized on a cinefluorogram. These techniques are ideally suited to the acutely ill patient. Echocardiography is another noninvasive technique with potential application to the study of asynergy. However, at present, only posterior-wall motion can be measured.
At the time of surgery regions of infarction may be localized by means of chemical indicators (fluoroscein), isotope techniques, or epicardial electrocardiographic mapping. Recently much has been learned about the hemodynamics of myocardial infarction. Through the use of the techniques described, further insight into regional ventricular abnormality and extent and localization of myocardial infarction could be obtained. With this information better approaches to therapy and prognosis could be developed.
Many students of the coronary circulation must have noted that the ventricular zone affected by ligating a large coronary branch not only appears cyanotic and dilated, but that it seems to alter in its mode of contraction. The detailed and sequential changes in contraction are not easily followed by the unaided eye and so far have not been recorded myographically. The reasons for this were the lack of an adequate and suitable myograph and a technique for the application of one to a limited ventricular surface so that records obtained represent, at least reasonably well, changes in muscle length and not predominantly artifacts due to position changes, thrusts and vibrations of the vigorously beating ventricle.1
- Left ventriculography
- Radioisotope techniques
- Enzyme measurements
- Isopotential mapping
- Myocardial scanning
- © 1972 American Heart Association, Inc.