Spontaneous delayed recovery of perfusion and contraction after the first 5 weeks after anterior infarction. Evidence for the presence of hibernating myocardium in the infarcted area.
BACKGROUND In patients with ventricular dysfunction caused by stunning or hibernation, it is not clear when complete recovery of the salvaged myocardium occurs after acute myocardial infarction. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a delayed recovery of perfusion and contraction continues even after the subacute phase.
METHODS AND RESULTS We prospectively studied 71 consecutive male patients with first uncomplicated Q-wave anterior infarction. Resting regional blood flow distribution and contraction were assessed quantitatively 5 weeks and 7 months after the acute phase by serial sestamibi tomography and two-dimensional echocardiography. Coronary angiography also was performed in 52 patients. Overall, at 7 months there was an improvement in the perfusion defect severity (1019 +/- 811 versus 1365 +/- 821 at 5 weeks, P < .001) as well as in the extent of abnormal wall motion (28 +/- 19% versus 32 +/- 15%, P < .001) and left ventricular ejection fraction (53 +/- 14% versus 50 +/- 13%, P < .01). Among the 68 of 71 patients showing resting perfusion defects at 5 weeks, two groups were identified: 47 (group 1) who showed a significant (beyond the reproducibility limits) 7-month reduction of the resting perfusion defect, and 21 patients (group 2) in whom the perfusion defect remained unchanged. Ejection fraction and the extent of abnormal wall motion significantly (P < .01) improved in group 1 but not in group 2. Despite the presence of a comparable perfusion defect size between the two groups at 5 weeks after infarction, group 1 already showed a better regional and global ventricular function (P < .05). No significant differences were found between the two groups regarding age, medical therapy, the extent of underlying coronary disease, thrombolysis in the acute phase, Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction grade of the infarct-related vessel, and presence of collaterals on angiography.
CONCLUSIONS After anterior Q-wave infarction, the recovery of perfusion and wall motion may continue well after the subacute phase. Several patients exhibit relative hypoperfusion in viable tissue as late as 5 weeks after infarction, and a significant improvement of perfusion in the infarcted area commonly is observed between 5 weeks and 7 months. This delayed improvement of perfusion is associated with a delayed improvement of contractile function in the infarcted area after the first 5 weeks, which may continue for up to 7 months, suggesting the presence of hibernating myocardium in the infarcted area. Despite similar perfusion defect sizes, the level of regional function can be different at 5 weeks, and measurements taken around this time may not accurately estimate the eventual recovery of function.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association