Left ventricular (LV) function is one of the most important determinants of long-term outcome in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Patients with normal or near-normal LV function have an excellent prognosis, whereas patients with impaired LV function are at substantial risk of death during medical therapy. It is now apparent that LV dysfunction is not always an irreversible process and that LV function may improve considerably, and even normalize, after myocardial revascularization in a large subset of patients. The identification of such patients with "hibernating" myocardium that is underperfused and dysfunctional, yet viable, has important implications in the selection of patients with LV dysfunction for revascularization procedures. Both nuclear cardiology techniques and 2-D echocardiography can be used for this purpose. The radionuclide techniques include positron emission tomography to assess blood flow and metabolism (using agents such as [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose) and thallium-201 (and possibly technetium-99m sestamibi) to assess blood flow and cell membrane integrity. Alternatively, echocardiographic imaging during low-dose infusions of dobutamine can be used to assess inotropic reserve. The data available to date suggest that patients with CAD in whom hibernating myocardium is largely the cause of impaired LV function constitute a subgroup of patients who may achieve a substantial improvement in LV function and in outcome if identified and treated with revascularization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine