Prevalence, clinical features, and prognosis of acute myocardial infarction attributable to coronary artery embolism

Tatsuhiro Shibata, Shoji Kawakami, Teruo Noguchi, Tomotaka Tanaka, Yasuhide Asaumi, Tomoaki Kanaya, Toshiyuki Nagai, Kazuhiro Nakao, Masashi Fujino, Kazuyuki Nagatsuka, Hatsue Ishibashi-Ueda, Kunihiro Nishimura, Yoshihiro Miyamoto, Kengo Kusano, Toshihisa Anzai, Yoichi Goto, Hisao Ogawa, Satoshi Yasuda

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199 Citations (Scopus)


Background - Coronary artery embolism (CE) is recognized as an important nonatherosclerotic cause of acute myocardial infarction. Its prevalence, clinical features, and prognosis remain insufficiently characterized. Methods and Results - We screened 1776 consecutive patients who presented with de novo acute myocardial infarction between 2001 and 2013. CE was diagnosed based on criteria encompassing histological, angiographic, and other diagnostic imaging findings. The prevalence, clinical characteristics, treatment strategies, in-hospital outcomes, and long-term risk of CE recurrence or major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events (cardiac death, fatal arrhythmia, or recurrent thromboembolism) were evaluated. The prevalence of CE was 2.9% (n=52), including 8 (15%) patients with multivessel CE. Atrial fibrillation was the most common cause (n=38, 73%). Only 39% of patients with CE were treated with vitamin K antagonists, and the median international normalized ratio was 1.42 (range, 0.95-1.80). Eighteen of the 30 CE patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation had a CHADS2 score of 0 or 1. When those patients were reevaluated using CHA2DS2-VASc, 61% were reassigned to a higher risk category. During a median follow-up of 49 months, CE and thromboembolism recurred in 5 atrial fibrillation patients. The 5-year rate of major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events was 27.1%. In the propensity score-matched cohorts (n=45 each), Kaplan-Meier analysis showed a significantly higher incidence of cardiac death in the CE group than in the non-CE group (hazard ratio, 9.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-76.5; P<0.001). Conclusions - Atrial fibrillation is the most frequent cause of CE. Patients with CE represent a high-risk subgroup of patients with acute myocardial infarction and require close follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-250
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 28


  • acute myocardial infarction
  • atrial fibrillation
  • coronary artery
  • embolism


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