Increased hyperaemic coronary microvascular resistance adds to the presence of myocardial ischaemia

EuroIntervention. 2014;9(12):1423-31. doi: 10.4244/EIJV9I12A240.


Aims: It has been argued that hyperaemic microvascular resistance (HMR), defined as the ratio of mean distal coronary pressure to flow velocity, is overestimated in the presence of a coronary stenosis compared to actual microvascular resistance (MR), due to neglecting collateral flow. We aimed to test the hypothesis that HMR allows accurate identification of microvascular functional abnormalities by evaluating the association between high or low HMR and the presence of myocardial ischaemia on non-invasive stress testing.

Methods and results: Myocardial perfusion scintigraphy was performed in 228 patients, with 299 lesions to identify reversible myocardial ischaemia. Intracoronary distal pressure and flow velocity were assessed during adenosine-induced hyperaemia (20-40 µg, intracoronary) to determine hyperaemic stenosis resistance (HSR) and HMR. HMR >1.9 mmHg/cm/s was defined as high. The diagnostic odds ratio (OR) for myocardial ischaemia for lesions associated with high compared to low HMR was 2.6 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.5-4.4; p<0.001) overall, 3.3 (95% CI: 1.2-9.0; p=0.02) for lesions with HSR >0.8 mmHg/cm/s, and 1.3 (95% CI: 0.6-2.9; p=0.52) for lesions with HSR ≤0.8 mmHg/cm/s.

Conclusions: The increased risk of myocardial ischaemia in the presence of high HMR, uncorrected for collateral flow, demonstrates that HMR is reflective of an increase in actual MR, identifying pertinent pathophysiological alterations in the microvasculature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine
  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Pressure
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Collateral Circulation
  • Coronary Circulation*
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Stenosis / physiopathology*
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperemia / diagnostic imaging
  • Hyperemia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Microcirculation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnostic imaging
  • Myocardial Ischemia / physiopathology*
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging / methods
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Vascular Resistance*
  • Vasodilator Agents


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Adenosine