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Myocardial infarction in young people with normal coronary arteries
  1. M J A Williams,
  2. N J Restieaux,
  3. C J S Low
  1. Department of Medicine, University of Otago, 201 Great King Street, Dunedin, New Zealand
  1. Dr Williams email: michael.williams{at}stonebow.otago.ac.nz

Abstract

Myocardial infarction occurring in young people with angiographically normal coronary arteries is well described but the pathophysiology of this condition remains unknown. Coronary artery spasm in association with thrombus formation and minimal atheromatous disease or spontaneous coronary artery dissection are possible causes. Two young men presented with severe chest pain after acute alcohol intoxication and each sustained an extensive anterior myocardial infarction. Investigations including intravascular ultrasound showed no evidence of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. Coronary artery spasm associated with acute alcohol intoxication as well as a prothrombotic state and endothelial damage related to cigarette smoking may be mechanisms leading to acute myocardial infarction in these cases. Acute myocardial infarction occurs in young persons with normal coronary arteries and the diagnosis should be considered in young patients presenting with severe chest pain, particularly those abusing cocaine or alcohol, so that reperfusion therapy can be initiated promptly.

  • myocardial infarction
  • coronary vasospasm
  • alcohol
  • intravascular ultrasound
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