Background: Myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) may be used to assess coronary microvasculature in patients with myocardial infarction. Myocardial contrast echocardiography-no reflow suggests poor functional outcome; however, MCE with reflow does not necessarily indicate good myocardial salvage or sufficient functional recovery from myocardial stunning. In this study, MCE was performed to assess the effect of pre-reperfusion residual flow (PRF) on the recovery from myocardial stunning.
Methods and results: The size of the occluded bed, an area supplied with an infarct-related artery, was determined by comparing pre- and post-reperfusion MCE images in 40 patients with first acute myocardial infarction. Myocardial contrast echocardiography-no reflow was observed after reperfusion in 8 patients. Significant PRF was not recognizable in any of the 8 patients. The other patients with MCE reflow were subdivided into 2 groups on the basis of the ratio of the area perfused by PRF to that of the occluded bed: 14 patients with the ratio of more than 10% (PRF[+]), and the other 18 patients (PRF[-]). The wall motion score (0, normal to 4, dyskinetic) was obtained in the convalescent stage.
Results: (1) Wall motion of the infarct area after day 3 was better in patients with PRF than in patients without PRF. (2) Left ventricular functional improvement in the long term was remarkable in patients with good reflow and PRF(+), modest in patients with good reflow but PRF(-), and not detectable in patients with MCE-no reflow. No significant correlation was found between angiographic collateral grades and PRF.
Conclusions: The presence of residual flow within the infarct area before reperfusion results in not only good myocardial salvage but also rapid functional recovery from myocardial stunning.