BACKGROUND: Invasive assessment of coronary physiology (IACP) offers important prognostic insights in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) but the dynamics of coronary recovery are poorly understood. OBJECTIVES: This study sought to examine the evolution of coronary flow reserve (CFR), index of microcirculatory resistance (IMR), ratio of distal coronary pressure (Pd) to mean aortic pressure (Pa), and fractional flow reserve (FFR) in patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI). METHODS: 82 patients with STEMI underwent IACP at PPCI. Repeat IACP was performed in 61 patients (74%) at day 1 and in 46 patients (56%) at 6 months. Contrast-enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) was performed in 45 patients (55%) at day 1 and in 41 patients (50%) at 6 months. Changes in IACP were compared between patients with and without microvascular obstruction (MVO) on CMR. RESULTS: MVO was present in 21 of 45 patients (47%). Patients with MVO had lower CFR at PPCI and day 1 (p < 0.05) and a trend toward higher IMR values (p = 0.07). At 6 months, CFR and IMR were not significantly different between the groups. Baseline flow and Pd/Pa remained stable over time but FFR reduced significantly between PPCI and 6 months (p = 0.008); this reduction was mainly observed in patients with MVO (p = 0.006) but not in those without MVO (p = 0.21). CONCLUSIONS: In PPCI-treated patients with STEMI, coronary microcirculation begins to recover within 24 h and recovery progresses further by 6 months. FFR significantly reduces from baseline to 6 months. The presence of MVO indicates a highly dysfunctional microcirculation.
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