Usefulness of the chest x-ray for predicting abnormal left ventricular function after acute myocardial infarction

Am Heart J. 1984 Dec;108(6):1431-6. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(84)90688-4.


We evaluated 229 patients discharged after a definite acute myocardial infarction. Pulmonary venous congestion determined from chest x-ray films during the hospitalization and at discharge and the cardiothoracic ratio at discharge were compared to the left ventricular ejection fraction measured at discharge by a gated radionuclide technique. During hospitalization, pulmonary venous congestion was found on at least one x-ray frame in 94 patients (41%). At discharge 134 patients (59%) had abnormal ejection fraction (less than 0.51) and 35 had pulmonary venous congestion (15%). The sensitivity of the x-ray for detecting an abnormal ejection fraction was 20% when pulmonary venous congestion was observed on the discharge x-ray film (specificity 92% and predictive value 77%), 52% if pulmonary venous congestion was present on any x-ray film during the hospitalization (specificity 74% and predictive value 73%), and 47% if the cardiothoracic ratio was abnormal (greater than or equal to 0.50) on the discharge x-ray film (specificity and predictive value 66%). We conclude that an abnormal x-ray film at discharge or during the hospitalization will identify approximately one-half of the abnormal ejection fractions at the time of hospital discharge. Therefore, to reliably assess left ventricular function, either for prognostic or therapeutic purposes in the individual patient, a more direct measure of left ventricular function such as radionuclide angiography must be obtained.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Edema / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Edema / etiology
  • Pulmonary Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography, Thoracic*
  • Stroke Volume