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Circulation. 2010 Oct 5;122(14):1405-12. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.940254. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Right ventricular ischemic injury in patients with acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: characterization with cardiovascular magnetic resonance.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Medical Imaging Research Center, UZ Leuven, Herestraat 49, Leuven, Belgium.



Experimental data show that the right ventricle (RV) is more resistant to ischemia than the left ventricle. To date, limited data are available in humans because of the difficulty of discriminating reversible from irreversible ischemic damage. We sought to characterize RV ischemic injury in patients with reperfused myocardial infarction using cardiovascular magnetic resonance.


In 3 tertiary centers, 242 consecutive patients with reperfused acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction were studied with cardiovascular magnetic resonance at 1 week and 4 months after myocardial infarction. T2-weighted and postcontrast cardiovascular magnetic resonance scans were used to depict myocardial edema and late gadolinium enhancement, respectively. Early after infarction, RV edema was common (51% of patients), often associated with late gadolinium enhancement (31% of patients). Remarkably, RV edema and late gadolinium enhancement were found in 33% and 12% of anterior left ventricular infarcts, respectively. Baseline regional and global RV functions were inversely related to the presence and extent of RV edema and RV late gadolinium enhancement. At follow-up, a significant decrease in frequency (25/242 patients; 10%) and extent of RV late gadolinium enhancement was observed (P<0.001). With the use of multivariable analysis, the presence of RV edema was an independent predictor of RV global function improvement during follow-up (β-coefficient=0.221, P=0.003).


Early postinfarction RV ischemic injury is common and is characterized by the presence of myocardial edema, late gadolinium enhancement, and functional abnormalities. RV injury is not limited to inferior infarcts but is commonly found in anterior infarcts as well. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance findings suggest reversibility of acute RV dysfunction with limited permanent myocardial damage at 4-month follow-up.

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