ABSTRACT: The mid- and long-term outcome of revascularization procedures is still uncertain in patients with chronic left ventricular systolic dysfunction due to coronary artery disease. The identification of dysfunctional myocardial segments with residual viability that can improve after revascularization is pivotal for further patient management. Hibernating myocardium (chronically dysfunctional but still viable tissue) can be identified by positron emission tomography and cardiac magnetic resonance and its presence and extent can predict functional recovery after revascularization. Before beta-blockers were introduced as routine care for heart failure, surgical revascularization appeared to improve survival in these patients. Nowadays, novel medical treatments and devices such as cardiac resynchronization therapy and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators have improved prognosis of these patients and their use is supported by a number of clinical trials. A recently concluded randomized trial, the STICH (Surgical Treatment for Ischemic Heart Failure) trial, has assessed the prognostic benefit derived from revascularization added to optimal medical therapy in patients with ischemic left ventricular dysfunction. This is an overview of the pathophysiological mechanisms as well as the main clinical studies and meta-analyses that have addressed this issue in the past four decades. Furthermore, a brief proposal for a randomized trial to assess effect on prognosis of revascularization of hibernating myocardium will be presented.
Giornale italiano di cardiologia (2006) 02/2012; 13(2):102-9.