Since November 1979 left ventricular angiography and coronary arteriography have been performed in 80 patients with evolving acute myocardial infarction in order to attempt coronary recanalisation by local streptokinase infusion. The average delay between the onset of symptoms and streptokinase infusion was 3.6 hours. Thrombolysis was successful in 64% of cases. No serious complications related to the procedure were noted. Of the 12 patients in cardiogenic shock, recanalisation was achieved in only four, of whom two survived. To evaluate the left ventricular salvage resulting from early recanalisation the last 58 patients had a second left ventricular angiogram and further coronary arteriograms 21 +/- 10 days later and 16 patients had a third study three months later. From the left ventricular angiogram in the right anterior oblique projection the ejection fraction and two graphic variables of regional wall motion were computed quantifying the hypokinetic zone. Patients were divided into two groups, according to the patency of the infarct related artery at the second control: group 1 consisted of 28 patients with successful recanalisation confirmed, and group 2 of 30 patients in whom no recanalisation was achieved or secondary reocclusion had occurred. At the second study the ejection fraction was unchanged in group 1 but had significantly decreased in group 2. Regional wall motion improved in group 1 and worsened in group 2, more so in patients without recanalisation than in those in whom secondary reocclusion had occurred. The third study showed a further decrease in ejection fraction in group 2. A progressive decrease in percentage residual stenosis was observed in group 1. This sequential angiographic study confirms the partial myocardial salvage resulting from early coronary recanalisation during acute myocardial infarction.
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