Angiographic demonstration of a common link between unstable angina pectoris and non-Q wave acute myocardial infarction

John A. Ambrose, Craig E. Hjemdahl-Monsen, Susan Borrico, Richard Gorlin, Valentin Fuster

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111 Scopus citations


The coronary morphology of ischemia-related arteries in unstable angina and Q-wave acute myocardial infarction (AMI) has been described. An eccentric stenosis with overhanging edges or irregular borders (type II eccentric) was seen in most lesions <100% occluded and probably represented plaque disruption, nonocclusive thrombus or both. The coronary morphology of non-Q AMI has not been described. Thus, the angiograms of 106 consecutive patients catheterized with either unstable angina (n = 73) or non-Q AMI (n = 33) and an identifiable ischemia-related artery were prospectively analyzed. Non-Q AMI was diagnosed by prolonged chest pain and new and persistent ST-T changes or creatine phosphokinase twice the normal level. The results showed a higher incidence of total occlusion of the ischemia-related artery in non-Q AMI (21%) compared with unstable angina (8%) (p = 0.1). The coronary morphology of nonoccluded ischemiarelated arteries was similar with preponderance of type II eccentric lesions in both unstable angina and non-Q AMI. These lesions were found in 65% of ischemia-related arteries in non-Q AMI but were uncommon (3%) in nonischemia-related arteries with significant (50% to 100%) stenoses. Therefore, the type II eccentric lesion is a sensitive and specific marker of <100% occluded ischemia-related arteries in both unstable angina and non-Q AMI. These similarities in coronary morphology suggest a similar pathogenesis, which, as previously suggested, may relate to plaque disruption with or without thrombus. Unstable angina and non-Q AMI appear to represent part of a continuous spectrum of acute coronary artery disease. Further, the management of patients with non-Q AMI should be similar to patients with unstable angina and possibly include anticoagulation and consideration for early catheterization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-247
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 1988


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