Background: Both myocardial blush grade (MBG) and cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) are imaging tools that can assess myocardial reperfusion after primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for acute myocardial infarction (AMI).
Objectives: We studied the relation between MBG and gadolinium-enhanced CMR for the assessment of microvascular obstruction (MVO) in patients with acute ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI) treated by primary PCI.
Material and methods: MBG was assessed in 39 patients with initial TIMI 0 STEMI successfully treated by PCI, resulting in TIMI 3 flow grade and complete ST-segment resolution. These MBG values were related to MVO determined by CMR, performed between 2 and 7 days after PCI. Left ventricular (LV) volumes were determined at baseline and at 6-month follow-up.
Results: No statistical relation was found between MBG and MVO extent at CMR (P = 0.63). Regarding MBG 0 and 1 as a sign of MVO, the sensitivity and specificity of these scores were 53.8 and 75%, respectively. In this study, CMR determined MVO was the only significant LV remodeling predicting factor (beta = 31.8; P = 0.002), whatever the MBG status was.
Conclusion: MBG underestimates MVO after an optimal revascularization in AMI compared with CMR. This study suggests the superior accuracy of delayed-enhanced magnetic resonance over MBG for the assessment of myocardial reperfusion injury that is needed in clinical trials, where the principal endpoint is the reduction of infarct size and MVO.