Implications of ventricular arrhythmia "bursts" with normal epicardial flow, myocardial blush, and ST-segment recovery in anterior ST-elevation myocardial infarction reperfusion: A biosignature of direct myocellular injury "downstream of downstream"

Mohamed Majidi, Andrzej S. Kosinski, Sana M. Al-Khatib, Lilian Smolders, Ecaterina Cristea, Alexandra J. Lansky, Gregg W. Stone, Roxana Mehran, Raymond J. Gibbons, Harry J. Crijns, Hein J. Wellens, Anton P. Gorgels, Mitchell W. Krucoff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims: Establishing epicardial flow with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is necessary but not sufficient to ensure nutritive myocardial reperfusion. We evaluated whether adding myocardial blush grade (MBG) and quantitative reperfusion ventricular arrhythmia "bursts" (VABs) surrogates provide a more informative biosignature of optimal reperfusion in patients with Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) 3 flow and ST-segment recovery (STR). Methods and results: Anterior STEMI patients with final TIMI 3 flow had protocol-blinded analyses of simultaneous MBG, continuous 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) STR, Holter VABs, and day 5-14 SPECT imaging infarct size (IS) assessments. Over 20 million cardiac cycles from >4500 h of continuous ECG monitoring in subjects with STR were obtained. IS and clinical outcomes were examined in patients stratified by MBG and VABs. VABs occurred in 51% (79/154) of subjects. Microcirculation (MBG 2/3) was restored in 75% (115/154) of subjects, of whom 53% (61/115) had VABs. No VABs were observed in subjects without microvascular flow (MBG of 0). Of 115 patients with TIMI 3 flow, STR, and MBG 2/3, those with VABs had significantly larger IS (median: 23.0% vs 6.0%, p = 0.001). Multivariable analysis identified reperfusion VABs as a factor significantly associated with larger IS (p = 0.015). Conclusions: Despite restoration of normal epicardial flow, open microcirculation, and STR, concomitant VABs are associated with larger myocardial IS, possibly reflecting myocellular injury in reperfusion settings. Combining angiographic and ECG parameters of epicardial, microvascular, and cellular response to STEMI intervention provides a more predictive "biosignature" of optimal reperfusion than do single surrogate markers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
JournalEuropean Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction
  • percutaneous coronary intervention
  • Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 3 flow
  • myocardial blush grade
  • reperfusion ventricular arrhythmia bursts
  • "downstream" response

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