Reperfusion arrhythmias: are they only a marker of epicardial reperfusion or continuing myocardial ischemia after acute myocardial infarction?

Research paper by Gulumser G Heper, Mehmet Emin ME Korkmaz, Ayhan A Kilic

Indexed on: 09 Nov '07Published on: 09 Nov '07Published in: Angiology


Reperfusion arrhythmias are associated with epicardial reperfusion but may also be a sign of vascular reperfusion injury which can be seen as no-reflow phenomenon on coronary angiography and predicts in-hospital complications and recovery of left ventricular (LV) function. No-reflow phenomenon (thrombolysis in myocardial infarction [TIMI] <or=2 flow) is frequently observed in patients after mechanical or medical reperfusion procedures for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The authors hypothesized that reperfusion arrhythmias (or peri-infarct arrhythmias) may be related to continuing myocardial ischemia. They documented all arrhythmia episodes in patients with AMI and compared arrhythmia rates in different therapy groups. They also compared arrhythmia rates according to TIMI flow achieved and those after MI. The highest arrhythmia rate was detected in patients to whom thrombolytic therapy was given for AMI (64%). The arrhythmia rate was lower in patients with primary PCI performed for AMI (46.2%) than in those receiving thrombolytic therapy. The arrhythmia rates according to therapy modalities for AMI were significantly different (p < 0.01). The achieved mean TIMI flow with primary PCI (2.46 +/-0.21 ) was higher than the mean flow achieved after thrombolytic therapy (2.12 +/-0.16). When compared to the arrhythmia rate according to TIMI flow, it was shown that the lowest arrhythmia rate was found in patients with TIMI 3 flow (17.2%) achieved with any procedure after AMI. The arrhythmia rate was 84% in patients with TIMI 2 flow and 33.3% with TIMI 0-1 flow (p <0.001). The arrhythmia rate was appreciably lower after 48 hours of MI. This finding suggests that the continuing myocardial ischemia represented by TIMI flow at the coronary angiography after acute myocardial infarction may have an important role in the pathogenesis of reperfusion arrhythmias.