Myocardial infarction with normal coronary arteries is common and associated with normal findings on cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging: results from the Stockholm Myocardial Infarction with Normal Coronaries study

J Intern Med. 2013 Feb;273(2):189-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2012.02567.x. Epub 2012 Aug 5.


Objectives: Myocardial infarction with angiographically normal coronary arteries (MINCA) is an important subtype of myocardial infarction; however, the prevalence, underlying pathophysiology, prognosis and optimal management of this condition are still largely unknown. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging has the potential to clarify the underlying pathology in patients with MINCA. The objective of this study was to investigate the diagnostic value of CMR imaging in this group of patients.

Design: The prospective, multicentre, observational Stockholm Myocardial Infarction with Normal Coronaries (SMINC) study.

Setting: Coronary care units in the Stockholm metropolitan area.

Subjects: Patients between 35 and 70 years of age with MINCA were consecutively included in the screening phase of the SMINC study. All patients had a typical clinical presentation, fulfilling the universal definition of myocardial infarction and had normal coronary angiography finding. Patients with known structural or coronary heart disease or other known causes of elevated troponin levels were excluded.

Results: In total, 176 patients with MINCA were screened from 2007 to 2011. Of these, 152 underwent CMR imaging. The investigation was performed a median of 12 (interquartile range 6-28) days after hospital admission; 67% of the findings were normal, whereas 19% of patients had signs of myocardial necrosis and 7% had signs of myocarditis. The remaining patients (7%) had either unrecognized hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or could not be classified.

Conclusion: In this consecutive series of patients with MINCA, CMR imaging may help to differentiate between those with myocarditis, myocardial necrosis and normal myocardium. The incidence of MINCA was higher than previously reported. After excluding cases of myocarditis, MINCA consists of a large group of patients with normal CMR imaging results and a smaller group with myocardial necrosis. The aetiologies of these different imaging findings need to be explored.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Angiography / methods*
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sweden