The evolving role of cardiac imaging in patients with myocardial infarction and non-obstructive coronary arteries

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2021 Oct 1;S0033-0620(21)00096-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2021.08.004. Online ahead of print.


Myocardial infarction (MI) with non-obstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA) represents a heterogeneous clinical conundrum accounting for about 6%-8% of all acute MI who are referred for coronary angiography. Current guidelines and consensus documents recommend that these patients are appropriately diagnosed, uncovering the causes of MINOCA, so that specific therapies can be prescribed. Indeed, there are a variety of causes that can result in this clinical condition, and for this reason diagnostic cardiac imaging has an emerging critical role in the assessment of patients with suspected or confirmed MINOCA. In last years, different cardiac imaging techniques have been evaluated in this context, and the comprehension of their strengths and limitations is of the utmost importance for their effective use in clinical practice. Moreover, recent evidence is clearly suggesting that a multimodality cardiac imaging approach, combining different techniques, seems to be crucial for a proper management of MINOCA. However, great variability still exists in clinical practice in the management of patients with suspected MINOCA, also depending on the availability of diagnostic tools and local expertise. Herein, we review the current knowledge supporting the use of different cardiac imaging techniques in patients with MINOCA, underscoring the importance of a comprehensive multimodality cardiac imaging approach and proposing a practical diagnostic algorithm to properly identify and treat the specific causes of MINOCA, in order to improve prognosis and the quality of life in these patients.

Keywords: Cardiac magnetic resonance; MINOCA; Myocardial infarction; Optical coherence tomography; Precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Review