Patients with syndrome X have normal transmural myocardial perfusion and oxygenation: A 3-T cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging study

Theodoros Karamitsos, Jayanth Arnold, Tammy Pegg, Jane Francis, Jacqueline Birks, Michael Jerosch-Herold, Stefan Neubauer, Joseph Selvanayagam

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    Background-The pathophysiology of chest pain in patients with cardiac syndrome X remains controversial. Advances in perfusion imaging with cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) now enable absolute quantification of regional myocardial blood flow (MBF). Furthermore, blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) or oxygenation-sensitive CMR provides the unprecedented capability to assess regional myocardial oxygenation. We hypothesized that the combined assessment of regional perfusion and oxygenation with CMR could clarify whether patients with syndrome X show evidence of myocardial ischemia (reduced perfusion and oxygenation) during vasodilator stress compared with normal volunteers. Methods and Results-Eighteen patients with syndrome X (chest pain, abnormal exercise treadmill test, normal coronary angiogram without other causes of microvascular dysfunction) and 14 controls underwent CMR scanning at 3 T. Myocardial function, scar, perfusion (2-3 short-axis slices), and oxygenation were assessed. Absolute MBF was measured during adenosine stress (140 μg/kg per minute) and at rest by model-independent deconvolution. For oxygenation, using a T2-prepared BOLD sequence, signal intensity was measured at adenosine stress and rest in the slice matched to the midventricular slice of the perfusion scan. There were no significant differences in MBF at stress (2.35 versus 2.37 mL/min per gram; P=0.91), BOLD signal change (17.3% versus 17.09%; P=0.91), and coronary flow reserve measurements (2.63 versus 2.53; P=0.60) in patients with syndrome X and controls, respectively. Oxygenation and perfusion measurements per coronary territory were also similar between the 2 groups. More patients with syndrome X (17/18 [94%]) developed chest pain during adenosine stress than controls (6/14 [43%]; P=0.004). Conclusions-Patients with syndrome X show greater sensitivity to chest pain compared with controls but no evidence of deoxygenation or hypoperfusion during vasodilatory stress.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)194-200
    Number of pages7
    JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Imaging
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


    • Blood flow
    • Chest pain
    • Ischemia
    • Microvascular angina
    • Oxygen


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