Infarct Tissue Heterogeneity by Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging Is a Novel Predictor of Mortality in Patients With Chronic Coronary Artery Disease and Left Ventricular Dysfunction

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Background—Strategies for prevention of sudden cardiac death focus on severe left ventricular (LV) dysfunction, although most sudden cardiac death postmyocardial infarction occurs in patients with mild/moderate LV dysfunction. We tested the hypothesis that infarct heterogeneity by cardiac magnetic resonance is associated with mortality beyond LV ejection fraction (LVEF) in patients with coronary artery disease and LV dysfunction. In addition, we examined the association between infarct heterogeneity and mortality in those with LVEF >35%.Methods and Results—We studied 301 patients with coronary artery disease and LV dysfunction referred for cardiac magnetic resonance. We quantified total infarct mass, infarct core mass, and peri-infarct zone (PIZ) normalized for total infarct mass (%PIZ) using signal-intensity criteria of >2 SDs, >3 SDs, and 2- to -3 SDs above remote myocardium, respectively. Mean LVEF was 41±14%. After 3.9 years median follow-up, 66 (22%) patients died (13 sudden cardiac death; 33 with LVEF >35%). In patients with LVEF >35%, below-median %PIZ carried an annual death rate of 2.8% versus 12% in patients with above-median %PIZ (P<0.001). In a multivariable model, %PIZ maintained strong association with mortality adjusted to patient age, LVEF, right ventricular ejection fraction, prolonged QT interval, and total infarct size and resulted in improve risk reclassification 0.492 (95% confidence interval, 0.183–0.817).Conclusions—Cardiac magnetic resonance infarct heterogeneity has a strong association with mortality independent of LVEF in patients with coronary artery disease and LV dysfunction, particularly in patients with mild or moderate LV dysfunction. Further studies incorporating cardiac magnetic resonance in clinical decision making for defibrillator therapy are warranted.

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