Nonuniformity of the transmural distribution of coronary blood flow during the cardiac cycle. In vivo documentation by contrast echocardiography.
This study was performed to examine the transmural (endocardial vs. epicardial) heterogeneity of myocardial blood flow during the cardiac cycle (systole vs. diastole). Twenty-four contrast echocardiographic injections were performed in seven open-chest anesthetized dogs either into left anterior descending or circumflex coronary artery or into the aortic root. Two-dimensional echocardiography in short-axis view was performed and was digitized off-line into a 256 x 256 pixel matrix with 256 gray levels/pixel. All end-diastolic and end-systolic frames before and to peak contrast were analyzed. A region of interest corresponding to the most intensely opacified myocardial segment was traced, the mean videodensity measured, and the frame of initial contrast appearance detected. The region of interest was divided into three equal parallel layers corresponding to the endocardial, midcardial, and epicardial myocardium. When the echocardiographic contrast effect initially appeared in diastole, the increment in videodensity was greater for the endocardium (131 +/- 48%) than for the epicardium (71 +/- 37% of the increment in videodensity of the entire wall) (p less than 0.05). This inhomogeneity subsequently disappeared in the following end-systolic frame. When the initial echocardiographic contrast effect appeared in systole, intensity was higher in epicardium (136 +/- 83%) than in endocardium (60 +/- 60%) (p less than 0.05). However, in the following diastole, intensity was not significantly different for the two layers. Thus, myocardial contrast echocardiography demonstrates that coronary blood flow is primarily subendocardial in distribution during diastole and subepicardial during systole.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association