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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2011 Mar;300(3):H1119-24. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.01022.2010. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Myocardial blood volume and coronary resistance during and after coronary angioplasty.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, Bern University Hospital and University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.


Animal experiments have shown that the coronary circulation is pressure distensible, i.e., myocardial blood volume (MBV) increases with perfusion pressure. In humans, however, corresponding measurements are lacking so far. We sought to quantify parameters reflecting coronary distensibility such as MBV and coronary resistance (CR) during and after coronary angioplasty. Thirty patients with stable coronary artery disease underwent simultaneous coronary perfusion pressure assessment and myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) of 37 coronary arteries and their territories during and after angioplasty. MCE yielded MBV and myocardial blood flow (MBF; in ml · min(-1) · g(-1)). Complete data sets were obtained in 32 coronary arteries and their territories from 26 patients. During angioplasty, perfusion pressure, i.e., coronary occlusive pressure, and MBV varied between 9 and 57 mmHg (26.9 ± 11.9 mmHg) and between 1.2 and 14.5 ml/100 g (6.7 ± 3.7 ml/100 g), respectively. After successful angioplasty, perfusion pressure and MBV increased significantly (P < 0.001 for both) and varied between 64 and 118 mmHg (93.5 ± 12.8 mmHg) and between 3.7 and 17.3 ml/100 g (9.8 ± 3.4 ml/100 g), respectively. Mean MBF increased from 31 ± 20 ml · min(-1) · g(-1) during coronary occlusion, reflecting collateral flow, to 121 ± 33 ml · min(-1) · g(-1) (P < 0.01), whereas mean CR, i.e., the ratio of perfusion pressure and MBF, decreased by 20% (P < 0.001). In conclusion, the human coronary circulation is pressure distensible. MCE allows for the quantification of CR and MBV in humans.

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