Coronary blood flow is tightly autoregulated but is subject to epicardial and microvascular obstruction, primarily owing to coronary atherosclerosis. Because coronary flow limitation underlies ischemic heart disease, an understanding of coronary physiology is paramount. Measurement of coronary blood flow, once relegated to the research laboratory is now easily performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. In particular, the measurement of fractional flow reserve has been extensively studied and is an important adjunct to clinical decision making. Measurement of coronary flow informs clinicians of prognosis, guides revascularization therapy, and forms the basis of ongoing research in treatment of complex myocardial disease processes. Newer methods of assessing coronary flow measurements are undergoing validation for clinical use and should further enhance our ability to assess the importance of coronary flow in clinical disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine