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Acad Radiol. 2011 Apr;18(4):479-87. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2010.11.016. Epub 2011 Jan 14.

Quantitative and qualitative characterization of the acute changes in myocardial structure and function after distal coronary microembolization using MDCT.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, 94107-5705, USA.



To determine the potential of multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) in assessing, at 72 hours, the effects of distal coronary microembolization on myocardial structure and function.


Microembolic material (total volume=16 mm(3) of 40-120 μm diameter) was selectively delivered in the left anterior descending coronary artery under x-ray fluoroscopy (n = 6 pigs). After 72 hours, 64-slice MDCT was used to assess LV function, perfusion, and viability. For comparison between the measurements at 80 kV, 120 kV, and postmortem we used Bland-Altman and Pearson correlation. Histochemical and histopathological staining was used for quantitative and qualitative characterization of microinfarct.


Cine MDCT showed the deleterious effects of microembolization on systolic wall thickening, LV volumes, and ejection fraction. Perfusion parameters, such as max upslope, peak attenuation, and time to peak, differed between microinfarct territory and remote myocardium. Inconsistency in visualizing microinfarct was observed using tube voltages of 80 kV and 120 kV. The extent of heterogeneous microinfarct was 4.5 ± 1.0 % of LV mass at 80 kV, 6.1 ± 0.9% LV at 120 kV, and 5.9 ± 1.1% LV on postmortem. There was significant difference in the extent of microinfarct measured on 80 kV MDCT compared with 120 kV and postmortem. Microscopic examination revealed the random distribution of obstructed microvessels surrounded by myocardial necrosis and inflammatory cells in all animals.


Both visible and nonvisible microinfarct cause perfusion deficit and LV dysfunction. MDCT is sensitive for quantifying early functional changes in LV caused by microembolization. Further improvement in spatial resolution of this technology is needed to improve visualization of microinfarct.

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