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Circulation. 1982 Dec;66(6):1146-9.

The stunned myocardium: prolonged, postischemic ventricular dysfunction.


Myocardial ischemia has, for many decades, been viewed as an all-or-none process that causes myocardial necrosis when prolonged and severe, but whose effects are transient when it is brief or mild. In view of the evidence that the ischemic process may "hit, run and stun," perhaps our thinking about the consequences of myocardial ischemia should be expanded. According to this formulation, an ischemic insult not of sufficient severity of duration to produce myocardial necrosis may acutely affect myocardial repolarization and cause angina (hit); but these changes wane rapidly (run), when the balance between myocardial oxygen supply and demand has been reestablished. However, the ischemia may interfere with normal myocardial function, biochemical processes and ultrastructure for prolonged periods (stun). The severity and duration of these postischemic changes depend on the length and intensity of the ischemia, as well as on the condition of the myocardium at the onset of the ischemic episode. Furthermore, it is likely that when the myocardium is repeatedly stunned, it may exhibit chronic postischemic left ventricular dysfunction, an ill-defined condition. If prolonged, chronic postischemic left ventricular dysfunction can progress to myocardial scarring and ischemic cardiomyopathy, it may be important to determine how often it can be ameliorated by permanent improvement of myocardial perfusion by surgical treatment.

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