The effect of reperfusion on regional left ventricular performance following acute myocardial infarction in man was determined. Intracoronary streptokinase was administered in 24 patients within 6 h of the onset of symptoms. 15 patients (62%) were successfully recanalized during the initial study. Mean percent radial shortening (%RS) in both the jeopardized and compensatory regions were determined using 23 radii from the centroid of diastolic and systolic angiographic silhouettes. Sequential measurements were obtained during repeat cardiac catheterization studies at 24 h in 19 patients and before discharge from the hospital (16 ± 11 d) in 15 patients. At the time of the predischarge study, each acutely reperfused patient showed improvement in %RS in the jeopardized region (P = 0.01) with 56% returning to the normal range. Despite the uniform improvement in the contractile function of the jeopardized region in each reperfused patient, the global ejection fraction showed no improvement or a decrease at the time of the chronic study in 44%. This was due to a decrease in the compensatory wall motion in the uninvolved segments between the acute and chronic study in each case. Neither the %RS nor the ejection fraction changed significantly at the time of the chronic study in the patients who could not be acutely recanalized. These data indicate (a) significant salvage of jeopardized myocardium associated with recovery of contractile function in patients reperfused during the first 6 h of chest pain following acute myocardial infarction; (b) no improvement in regional or global left ventricular performance in patients who could not be reperfused acutely; and (c) the ejection fraction is strongly influenced by changes in the compensatory wall motion of the uninvolved segments and does not accurately reflect changes in the contractile function of the jeopardized myocardium.
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