Quantitation of diffuse myocardial ischemia with mental stress and its association with cardiovascular events in individuals with recent myocardial infarction

J Nucl Cardiol. 2023 Mar 29. doi: 10.1007/s12350-023-03212-8. Online ahead of print.


Microcirculatory dysfunction during psychological stress may lead to diffuse myocardial ischemia. We developed a novel quantification method for diffuse ischemia during mental stress (dMSI) and examined its relationship with outcomes after a myocardial infarction (MI). We studied 300 patients ≤ 61 years of age (50% women) with a recent MI. Patients underwent myocardial perfusion imaging with mental stress and were followed for 5 years. dMSI was quantified from cumulative count distributions of rest and stress perfusion. Focal ischemia was defined in a conventional fashion. The main outcome was a composite outcome of recurrent MI, heart failure hospitalizations, and cardiovascular death. A dMSI increment of 1 standard deviation was associated with a 40% higher risk for adverse events (HR 1.4, 95% CI 1.2-1.5). Results were similar after adjustment for viability, demographic and clinical factors and focal ischemia. In sex-specific analysis, higher levels of dMSI (per standard deviation increment) were associated with 53% higher risk of adverse events in women (HR 1.5, 95% CI 1.2-2.0) but not in men (HR 0.9, 95% CI 0.5-1.4), P 0.001. A novel index of diffuse ischemia with mental stress was associated with recurrent events in women but not in men after MI.

Keywords: Myocardial ischemia; psychological stress; sex.