State of the Art: Imaging for Myocardial Viability: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association

Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2020 Jul;13(7):e000053. doi: 10.1161/HCI.0000000000000053. Epub 2020 Jul 13.


A substantial proportion of patients with acute myocardial infarction develop clinical heart failure, which remains a common and major healthcare burden. It has been shown that in patients with chronic coronary artery disease, ischemic episodes lead to a global pattern of cardiomyocyte remodeling and dedifferentiation, hallmarked by myolysis, glycogen accumulation, and alteration of structural proteins. These changes, in conjunction with an impaired global coronary reserve, may eventually become irreversible and result in ischemic cardiomyopathy. Moreover, noninvasive imaging of myocardial scar and hibernation can inform the risk of sudden cardiac death. Therefore, it would be intuitive that imaging of myocardial viability is an essential tool for the proper use of invasive treatment strategies and patient prognostication. However, this notion has been challenged by large-scale clinical trials demonstrating that, in the modern era of improved guideline-directed medical therapies, imaging of myocardial viability failed to deliver effective guidance of coronary bypass surgery to a reduction of adverse cardiac outcomes. In addition, current available imaging technologies in this regard are numerous, and they target diverse surrogates of structural or tissue substrates of myocardial viability. In this document, we examine these issues in the current clinical context, collect current evidence of imaging technology by modality, and inform future directions.

Keywords: AHA Scientific Statements; echocardiography, stress; fractional flow reserve, myocardial; hibernation; magnetic resonance imaging; myocardial perfusion imaging; myocardial stunning.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • American Heart Association
  • Cardiac Imaging Techniques*
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / mortality
  • Myocardial Ischemia / pathology
  • Myocardial Ischemia / therapy
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Necrosis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Tissue Survival
  • United States