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Evaluation of hibernating myocardium

Wilson S Colucci, MD
Section Editors
Bernard J Gersh, MB, ChB, DPhil, FRCP, MACC
Jeroen J Bax, MD, PhD
Deputy Editor
Brian C Downey, MD, FACC


It has become apparent that impaired left ventricular (LV) function in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) is not always an irreversible process, but may be stunned or hibernating:

Transient postischemic dysfunction is called "stunned" myocardium

Chronic but potentially reversible ischemic dysfunction due to a stenosed coronary artery is called "hibernating" myocardium

From 20 to more than 50 percent of patients with chronic ischemic LV dysfunction have a significant amount of viable hibernating myocardium and therefore the potential for clinically important improvement in LV function after revascularization (figure 1) [1-4]. (See "Diagnosis and management of ischemic cardiomyopathy".)

The approach to the detection of hibernating myocardium will be reviewed here (table 1). The pathophysiology of and clinical syndromes associated with hibernation are discussed separately. (See "Pathophysiology of stunned or hibernating myocardium" and "Clinical syndromes of stunned or hibernating myocardium" and "Diagnosis and management of ischemic cardiomyopathy".)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Aug 7, 2014.
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