Coronary arteriographic findings soon after non-Q-wave myocardial infarction

N Engl J Med. 1986 Aug 14;315(7):417-23. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198608143150703.


Complete occlusion of the infarct-related coronary artery is a frequent finding soon after Q-wave (transmural) myocardial infarction. We performed coronary arteriography to study the frequency of total coronary occlusion and of angiographically visible collateral vessels in 341 patients within one week of non-Q-wave myocardial infarction. In this cross-sectional study, 192, 94, and 55 patients underwent coronary arteriography within 24 hours of peak symptoms, between 24 and 72 hours after peak symptoms, and between 72 hours and seven days after peak symptoms, respectively. In the three groups, total occlusion of the infarct-related vessel was found in 26 percent (49 of 192), 37 percent (35 of 94), and 42 percent (23 of 55) of the patients, respectively (P less than 0.05). The presence of visible collateral vessels increased in parallel: 27 percent (52 of 192), 34 percent (32 of 94), and 42 percent (23 of 55), respectively (P less than 0.05). The frequency of subtotal occlusion (i.e., greater than or equal to 90 percent stenosis) decreased inversely: 34 percent (65 of 192), 25.5 percent (24 of 94), and 18 percent (10 of 55), respectively (P less than 0.05). Thus, in contrast to Q-wave infarction, total coronary occlusion of the infarct-related vessel is infrequently observed in the early hours of non-Q-wave infarction, but it increases moderately in frequency over the next several days. These cross-sectional data suggest that non-Q-wave infarction may be related to a preserved but marginal blood supply, which sufficiently disrupts the relation between the supply of and the demand for myocardial oxygen to cause tissue necrosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Cineangiography
  • Collateral Circulation
  • Coronary Angiography*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Necrosis
  • Time Factors