The aim of this study was to determine whether edema imaging by T2-weighted cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging could retrospectively delineate the area at risk in reperfused myocardial infarction. We hypothesized that the size of the area at risk during a transient occlusion would be similar to the T2-weighted hyperintense region observed 2 days later, that the T2-weighted hyperintense myocardium would show partial functional recovery after 2 months, and that the T2 abnormality would resolve over 2 months.Methods and Results—
Seventeen dogs underwent a 90-minute coronary artery occlusion, followed by reperfusion. The area at risk, as measured with microspheres (9 animals), was comparable to the size of the hyperintense zone on T2-weighted images 2 days later (43.4±3.3% versus 43.0±3.4% of the left ventricle; P=NS), and the 2 measures correlated (R=0.84). The infarcted zone was significantly smaller (23.1±3.7; both P<0.001). To test whether the hyperintense myocardium would exhibit partial functional recovery over time, 8 animals were imaged on day 2 and 2 months later. Systolic strain was mapped with displacement encoding with stimulated echoes. Edema, as detected by a hyperintense zone on T2-weighted images, resolved, and regional radial systolic strain partially improved from 4.9±0.7 to 13.1±1.5 (P=0.001) over 2 months.Conclusions—
These findings are consistent with the premise that the T2 abnormality depicts the area at risk, a zone of reversibly and irreversibly injured myocardium associated with reperfused subendocardial infarctions. The persistence of postischemic edema allows T2-weighted CMR to delineate the area at risk 2 days after reperfused myocardial infarction.