Background - Real-time myocardial contrast echocardiography (RTMCE) directly measures capillary flow (CBF), which in turn is a major regulator of coronary flow and resistance during demand or hyperemic stress. Although fractional flow reserve (FFR) was developed to assess the physiological relevance of an epicardial stenosis, it assumes maximal microvascular vasodilation and minimal resistance during vasodilator stress. Therefore, we sought to determine the relationship between CBF assessed with RTMCE during stress echocardiography and FFR in intermediate coronary lesions. Methods and Results - Sixty-seven vessels with 50% to 80% diameter stenoses by quantitative coronary angiography in 58 consecutive patients were examined with FFR and RTMCE (mean age, 60±13 years). RTMCE was performed using an incremental dobutamine (n=32) or exercise (n=26) stress protocol, and myocardial perfusion was assessed using a continuous infusion of ultrasound contrast. The presence or absence of inducible perfusion defects and wall motion abnormalities were correlated with FFR. Mean percent diameter stenosis was 60±9%. Eighteen stenoses (27%) had an FFR ≤ 0.8. Although 17 of the 18 stenoses that were FFR+ had abnormal CBF during RTMCE, 28 of the 49 stenoses (57%) that were FFR had abnormal CBF, and 24 (49%) had abnormal wall motion in the corresponding coronary artery territory during stress echocardiography. Conclusions - In a significant percentage of intermediate stenoses with normal FFR values, CBF during demand stress is reduced, resulting in myocardial ischemia.
- coronary angiography
- coronary artery disease
- myocardial ischemia
- perfusion imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine