Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the importance of late infarct-related artery patency for recovery of left ventricular function and late survival after primary angio-plasty for acute myocardial infarction.
Background: Infarct-related artery patency is thought to improve late survival by its effect on preservation of left ventricular function. Patency may also enhance late survival by preventing left ventricular dilation and reducing arrhythmias, independent of myocardial salvage. However, most studies have not shown patency to be an independent predictor of survival when late left ventricular function is taken into account.
Methods: We followed up 576 hospital survivors of acute myocardial infarction treated with primary angioplasty for 5.3 years. Ejection fraction and infarct-related artery patency were determined at follow-up catheterization at 6 months. Predictors of late cardiac survival were determined using Cox regression models.
Results: Patients with patent arteries had more improvement and a better late ejection fraction than patients with occluded arteries (56.3% vs. 47.9%, p = 0.001). In patients with acute ejection fraction < 45%, late survival was better in those with patent versus occluded arteries (89% vs. 44%, p = 0.003), but patency was not a significant predictor after improvement in ejection fraction was taken into account. In patients with a large anterior infarction, patency was a significant independent predictor of late survival.
Conclusions: Infarct-related artery patency is important for recovery of left ventricular function, and in patients with acute ejection fraction < 45%, patency is important for late survival. Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that the survival benefit is due primarily to the effect of patency on recovery of left ventricular function. In patients with a large anterior infarction, patency appears to provide an additional late survival benefit independent of myocardial salvage. These observations support the need for additional clinical trials of late reperfusion in patients with a large anterior infarction.