About one third of patients with TIMI 3 after reperfusion have evidence of microvascular obstruction (MO) which represents an independent predictor of myocardial wall rupture. This explains all efforts made to prevent MO. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has proved to be particularly useful in detecting MO. The aim of this study was to evaluate with MRI if different fibrinolytic regimens in acute myocardial infarction display different effects on left ventricle (LV) volumes and ejection fraction (EF), as well as on myocardial infarct size (MIsz) and MO.
Twenty male patients, mean age 58 years, affected by acute myocardial infarction, ten anterior and ten inferior, were treated with: full dose reteplase in ten, and half dose reteplase plus full dose abciximab (R+Abcx) in the other ten patients. In the fourth day after hospital admission, MRI STIR T2 images were used to quantify MIsz, while 2dflash cineloops were used after the injection of gadolinium, to quantify LV volumes, EF and to detect MO.
LV EF was higher in R+Abcx 51±10 than in reteplase 41±8. MIsz was similar in both treatment groups: however a close relationship was present between MIsz and EF in the reteplase group indicating that the greater the MIsz the lower the EF. In R+Abcx this relationship was no longer present, suggesting a protective effect of the drug on microcirculation. In fact extensive MO was present in 25% of all cases, 80% of which in the reteplase group while only 20% in R+Abcx.
R+Abcx prevents MO: compared to traditional fibrinolytic therapy it allows better LV function and most likely improved long term survival.