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Heterogeneity of Coronary Vascular Function and Myocardial Oxygenation in Women with Angina and Non-obstructive Coronary Artery Disease.

AIMS: Women with angina and non-obstructive coronary artery disease (ANOCA) have a heightened risk for cardiovascular events, and the pathophysiology for ischemic symptoms may be related to alterations in microvascular structure and function. We examined the use of breathing-enhanced oxygenation-sensitive cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (OS-CMR) using vasoactive breathing maneuvers to assess myocardial oxygenation in women with ANOCA.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We recruited women (aged 40-65 years) from two sites in Canada who presented to healthcare with persistent retrosternal chest pain and found to have ANOCA, or without a history of cardiovascular disease. All participants were scanned using a clinical 3T MRI scanner, OS-CMR images were acquired over a breath hold following paced hyperventilation to measure global and regional measurements of heterogeneity.Fifty-four women with ANOCA (age: 55 +/- 6.2 years) and 48 healthy controls (age: (51.2+/- 4.8 years) were recruited. There was no significant difference in volume, function, mass, or global myocardial oxygenation between the two groups (mean % Δ in SI: 4.9 (+/- 7.3) vs. 4.5 (+/- 10.1), p = 0.82). Women with ANOCA had higher regional variations in myocardial oxygenation in circumferential (median % Δ in SI: 5.1 (2.0-7.6) vs. 2.2 (1.4-3.5), p = 0.0004) and longitudinal directions (median % Δ in SI: 11.4 (5.4-16.7) vs. 6.0 (3.0-7.0), p = 0.001), which remained present in a multivariate model.

CONCLUSION: Heterogeneous myocardial oxygenation may explain ischemic symptoms without any associated epicardial obstructive coronary artery disease. Regional variations in myocardial oxygenation on OS-CMR could serve as an important diagnostic marker for microvascular dysfunction in women with ANOCA.

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