In this review paper on the pathophysiology of myocardial ischaemia, the recent concepts of the ischaemic cascade, as well as the concepts of stunning and hibernating myocardium, are discussed. It is clear that painful ischaemia is the final phenomenon in the ischaemic cascade and that it is preceded by biochemical disturbances, diastolic and systolic dysfunction and electrocardiographic abnormalities. Silent ischaemia remains a difficult research field.
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