Background: In patients with coronary artery disease, angiographic and postmortem studies have shown that coronary stenoses in infarct-related arteries often have complex morphology. It is not known whether in patients with multivessel disease stenosis morphology in non-infarct-related arteries is different from those of the infarct-related arteries.
Methods and results: In 24 consecutive patients we examined the angiographic characteristics of both the infarct-related stenoses and non-infarct-related stenoses before and after spontaneous acute myocardial infarction, by visual inspection and computerized edge detection of coronary angiograms. Before myocardial infarction, the severity of the infarct-related stenoses was <50% in 14 patients and > or =50% in 10 patients (p=not significant) and of non-infarct-related stenoses was <50% in 16 and > or=50% in 13. A significantly greater proportion of infarct-related stenoses with severity > or =50% progressed to non-Q-wave than to Q-wave myocardial infarction (71% vs 50%, p < 0.05). Before myocardial infarction, the percentage of concentric, eccentric, and irregular infarct-related stenoses was 8%, 13%, and 50%, respectively, whereas in the non-infarct-related stenoses it was 62%, 17%, and 21%, respectively (p < 0.01). A similar proportion of irregular morphology progressed to Q-wave or non-Q-wave myocardial infarction.
Conclusions: In patients with stable angina who had acute myocardial infarction develop, the infarct-related and non-infarct-related stenoses on average are similar in severity but different in morphology. Nonsevere stenoses more frequently progress to Q-wave than to non-Q-wave myocardial infarction.