Diffuse and focal epicardial coronary disease and coronary microvascular abnormalities may exist side-by-side. Identifying the contributions of each of these three players in the coronary circulation is a difficult task. Yet identifying coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) as an additional player in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) may provide explanations of why symptoms may persist frequently following and why global coronary flow reserve may be more prognostically important than fractional flow reserve measured in a single vessel before percutaneous coronary intervention. This review focuses on the challenges of identifying the presence of CMD in the context of diffuse non-obstructive CAD and obstructive CAD. Furthermore, it is going to discuss the pathophysiology in this complex situation, examine the clinical context in which the interaction of the three components of disease takes place and finally look at non-invasive diagnostic methods relevant for addressing this question.
- Coronary microvascular dysfunction
- Fractional flow reserve
- Index of microvascular resistance
- Non-obstructive coronary artery disease
- Obstructive coronary artery disease