The objective of this study was to assess the percent stenosis of the culprit lesion responsible for subsequent myocardial infarction in the Program on the Surgical Control of the Hyperlipidemias (POSCH). It is unknown if the susceptible coronary artery culprit lesion responsible for an acute myocardial infraction is relatively large (≤ 50% arteriographic stenosis) and hemodynamically significant (≤ 70% stenosis), or small (<50% stenosis) and asymptomatic. Certain necropsy and arteriography studies support the large progenitor lesion concept, and other arteriography studies support the small lesion hypothesis. We analyzed the coronary arteriogram immediately preceding a Q wave (transmural) myocardial infarction for the degree of stenosis of the suspected culprit lesion, which was selected by visual inspection of the coronary circulation supplying the electrocardiogram- defined area of myocardial infarction. There was no perceptible difference with respect to vessel segment distribution o culprit lesions or time to infarction between the 52 control-group patients and the 27 intervention- group patients. For the two groups combined (n=79), the predominantly involved segments were the middle right coronary artery and the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery. The time interval from the preceding coronary arteriogram closest to the index myocardial infarction ranged from 0 days to 10 years; however, 64.6% o the arteriograms were performed 2 years or less prior to the myocardial infarction. Only 5.1% of the patients in both groups combined had a culprit lesion stenosis < 50%, while 88.6% of the patients in both groups combined had a culprit lesion stenosis ≤ 70%. The results strongly favor the large lesion hypothesis indisputably determined. The resolution of this problem has exceedingly important practical implications for the management of patients with known atherosclerotic coronary heart disease and for those asymptomatic individuals with silent atherosclerotic coronary heart disease.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Grants R01-HL-15265 and R01-HL-49522.
- Arteriographic stenosis
- Culprit lesion
- Myocardial Infarction