Comparison of intravascular ultrasound and angiography in the assessment of myocardial bridging.
BACKGROUND In autopsy, myocardial bridging is a common finding. With coronary angiography, a systolic compression, mainly of the left anterior descending coronary artery, is observed in 1% to 3% of the patients. Controversy exists concerning the functional importance of this finding. To obtain a functional insight into the myocardial bridging, intravascular ultrasound and intracoronary Doppler were performed.
METHODS AND RESULTS Intracoronary ultrasound and Doppler were performed in 14 patients with angiographic evidence of systolic vessel compression ("milking effect") in the left anterior descending coronary artery. The 4.8F, 20-MHz ultrasound catheter could not be advanced through the entire myocardial bridge segment in 6 of the 14 patients studied because the lumen was < 1.6 mm. In these patients, only the proximal parts of the bridge segment were scanned. The changes in cross-sectional shape during the cardiac cycle were determined for both the normal proximal segment and the bridge segment by use of a semiautomatic computer program. Intracoronary Doppler (20 MHz) was performed in 7 patients with a 3F catheter. A highly characteristic systolic eccentric or concentric compression with delayed relaxation in diastole of the myocardial bridging segment was clearly visualized in all patients. The cross-sectional lumen area variation was 40 +/- 25% in the bridging segments and 9 +/- 7% in the normal segments (P < .01). No atherosclerotic lesions were detected in the bridge or the distal segment in the 8 patients in whom the IVUS catheter was successfully advanced through the entire myocardial bridge. However, atherosclerotic plaques were found in the segments proximal to the bridge in 12 of 14 patients (86%). The resting mean flow velocity was 6.4 +/- 1.2 cm/s; the maximal mean flow velocity after intracoronary administration of 10 mg papaverine was 14.1 +/- 3.4 cm/s. The coronary flow velocity reserve was 2.2 +/- 0.7. A highly characteristic pattern showing a prominent peak in coronary velocity in early diastole was observed in 86% of patients, and this pattern was enhanced after injection of intracoronary papaverine.
CONCLUSION Intravascular ultrasound demonstrated a characteristic systolic compression of the bridge segments. The delayed compression release may explain the characteristic sharp early diastolic peak in coronary flow velocity found with intracoronary Doppler in vessels with myocardial bridging. Reduced coronary flow reserve may be related to this phenomenon, possibly explaining signs of ischemia detected in some of the patients, but may alternatively be a result of the presence of atherosclerosis in the segment proximal to the bridge in these patients.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association