Although microvascular flow abnormalities have been observed following epicardial recanalization in acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the prevalence and severity of these abnormalities in the current era of rapid percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) has not been evaluated. The objective of this study was to assess microvascular perfusion (MVP) following successful primary PCI in patients with STEMI and how it affects clinical outcome.Methods
In this single-center, retrospective study, 170 patients who successfully underwent emergent PCI for STEMI were assessed using real-time myocardial contrast echocardiography using a continuous infusion of intravenous commercial microbubbles (3% Definity). Three patterns of myocardial contrast replenishment were observed following intermittent high–mechanical index impulses: infarct zone replenishment within 4 sec (normal MVP), delays in contrast replenishment but normal plateau intensity (delayed MVP [dMVP]), and both delays in replenishment and reduced plateau intensity (microvascular obstruction [MVO]). Changes in left ventricular ejection fraction at 6 months and clinical event rate at 12 months (death, recurrent infarction, need for defibrillator placement, or heart failure admission) were compared.Results
Normal MVP was seen in 62 patients (36%), dMVP in 49 (29%), and MVO in 59 (35%). Left anterior descending coronary artery infarct location was the only parameter independently associated with dMVP or MVO, independent of age, cardiac risk factors, door-to-dilation time, pre-PCI Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction flow grade, and thrombus burden. A dMVP pattern had a similar reduction in left ventricular ejection fraction as MVO at hospital discharge but had recovery of left ventricular ejection fraction at 6 months and a greater than fourfold lower event rate than the MVO group (P < .001).Conclusions
MVO and dMVP are frequently seen following contemporary successful PCI for STEMI, especially following left anterior descending coronary artery infarction. Despite a similar area at risk, a dMVP pattern has better functional recovery and clinical outcome than MVO.