Objectives: We sought to compare myocardial contrast echocardiography with low dose dobutamine echocardiography for predicting 1-month recovery of ventricular function in acute myocardial infarction treated with primary coronary angioplasty.
Background: The relation between myocardial perfusion and contractile reserve in patients with acute myocardial infarction, in whom anterograde flow is fully restored without significant residual stenosis, is still unclear.
Methods: Thirty patients with acute myocardial infarction treated successfully with primary coronary angioplasty underwent intracoronary contrast echocardiography before and after angioplasty and dobutamine echocardiography 3 days after the index infarction. One month later, two-dimensional echocardiography and coronary angiography were repeated in all patients and contrast echocardiography in 18 patients.
Results: After coronary recanalization, 26 patients showed myocardial reperfusion within the risk area, although 4 did not. At 1-month follow-up, all patients had a patient infarct-related artery without significant restenosis. Both left ventricular ejection fraction and wall motion score index within the risk area significantly improved in the patients with reperfusion ([mean +/- SD] 38 +/- 8% vs. 48 +/- 12%, p < 0.005; and 2.35 +/- 0.5 vs. 2 +/- 0.6, p < 0.001, respectively), but not in those with no reflow. Of the 72 nonperfused segments before angioplasty, 27 showed functional improvement at follow-up. Myocardial contrast echocardiography had a sensitivity and a negative predictive value similar to dobutamine echocardiography in predicting late functional recovery (96% vs. 89% and 89% vs. 93%, respectively), but a lower specificity (18% vs. 91%, p < 0.001), positive predictive value (41% vs. 86%, p < 0.001) and overall accuracy (47% vs. 90%, p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Microvascular integrity is a prerequisite for myocardial viability after acute myocardial infarction. However, contrast enhancement shortly after recanalization does not necessarily imply a late functional improvement. Thus, contractile reserve elicited by low dose dobutamine is a more accurate predictor of regional functional recovery after reperfused acute myocardial infarction than microvascular integrity.