Evaluation of the acute effects of distal coronary microembolization using multidetector computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging

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The purpose of this study was to test the potential of clinical imaging modalities, 64-slice multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) and 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for qualitative and quantitative evaluation of acute microinfarcts and to determine the effects of <120 μm microemboli on left ventricular function, perfusion, cardiac injury biomarkers, arrhythmia, and cellular and vascular structures. Under X-ray fluoroscopy, 40–120 μm (16 mm3) microemboli were delivered to embolize the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery of nine pigs. MDCT/MRI were performed at 72 h in a single session. Microinfarcts were visible in six of nine animals on delayed contrast-enhanced MDCT/MR images but measurable in all animals using semiautomated threshold methods. Other MDCT and MRI sequences demonstrated decline in left ventricular ejection fraction, regional strain and perfusion in visible and invisible microinfarcted regions. Microemboli caused significant elevation in cardiac injury enzymes and arrhythmias. Various sizes of microinfarcts appeared microscopically as distinct aggregates of macrophages replacing myocardium. Semiautomated threshold methods are necessary to measure and confirm/deny the presence of myocardial microinfarcts. This study offers support for alternative applications of MDCT/MRI in assessing clinical cases in which microemboli <120 μm escape protective devices during percutaneous coronary interventions. Although microembolization resulted in no mortality, it caused left ventricular dysfunction, perfusion deficit, cellular damage increase in cardiac injury enzymes, and arrhythmias.

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