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Functional significance of coronary collateral circulation during dynamic exercise evaluated by thallium-201 myocardial scintigraphy.
  1. R J Wainwright,
  2. M N Maisey,
  3. A C Edwards,
  4. E Sowton


    Sixty-five patients with angiographically documented coronary artery disease were investigated by thallium-201 (201Tl) scintigraphy to determine the role of the collateral circulation during dynamic exercise. Fifty-three patients had complete proximal occlusion of at least one major coronary artery. One patient had total occlusion of all three major coronary arteries. Sixty-four collateral channels were identified, graded, and compared with corresponding regions of the myocardial scintigram. Tracer uptake was also graded and classified as various degrees of protection from ischaemia. A significant correlation between good collaterals with complete protection and poor or absent collaterals with no protection was noted. Seventeen patients (20 occluded vessels) had total coronary occlusion without myocardial infarction. Collaterals conferred protection in 9/15 occlusions whereas no protection was seen in five occlusions without collaterals. There was no difference in the protective role of homocoronary and heterocoronary collateral vessels. Hypertrophy of the first septal left anterior descending perforator conferred significant protection from ischaemia in contrast to bridging collaterals and ghosting. During exercise the right coronary bed is preferentially protected from ischaemia, in contrast to the left anterior descending territory. This probably reflects the direction of a transmural flow gradient between left and right ventricles during exercise.

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