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Spontaneous late improvement of myocardial viability in the chronic infarct zone is possible, depending on persistent TIMI 3 flow and a low grade stenosis of the infarct artery
  1. M Faraggia,
  2. G Montalescotb,
  3. L Sardaa,
  4. J F Heintzb,
  5. D Doumita,
  6. G Drobinskib,
  7. I Sotirovb,
  8. D Le Guludeca,
  9. D Thomasb
  1. aNuclear Medicine Department, Bichat Hospital, 46, rue Henri Huchard, F75018, Paris, France, bCardiology Department, Pitié Hospital, Paris, France
  1. Dr Faraggi. email: marc.faraggi{at}


OBJECTIVE In the chronic phase of myocardial infarction, the relation between myocardial recovery and infarct related artery status remains unclear. The spontaneous changes in rest-redistribution thallium defect size were prospectively studied over six months in 52 patients with chronic Q wave myocardial infarction.

DESIGN Changes in rest thallium defect size, thallium uptake in the infarct area, and radionuclide left ventricular ejection fraction were compared to the quantitative coronary angiogram data. Two groups of patients were considered: patients with a percentage of stenosis below 100% (group 1, n = 31); and patients with an occluded artery (group 2, n = 21).

RESULTS In the overall population, the mean (SD) defect size decreased from 28.2 (17.2)% to 24.9 (19.3)% of the whole myocardium (p = 0.01), while, in this area, the thallium uptake increased from 62.9 (13.7)% to 66.9 (15.6)% (p < 0.001). At the time of inclusion, the defect size, thallium uptake, and ejection fraction were similar in both groups. In group 1 patients only, the reduction in defect size correlated with the improvement in ejection fraction (r = 0.41, p = 0.02) and was related to the percentage of coronary artery stenosis. TIMI 3 patients reduced the defect size while other patients increased this defect (−5.1 (7.0)% v +11.0 (14.4)%, p < 0.001). In contrast, no significant relations were found in group 2 patients.

CONCLUSION Late spontaneous recovery in thallium defect can occur in patients with a patent infarct related artery, depending on the TIMI flow grade and a low grade stenosis of the infarct related artery, and is associated with functional improvement.

  • myocardial infarction
  • thallium
  • infarct related artery
  • TIMI 3 flow grade

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