Original Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 2, P165-174, February 2018

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Myocardial Infarction Without Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease is Not a Benign Condition (ANZACS-QI 10)

Published:March 29, 2017DOI:


      Non-obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) on coronary angiography after myocardial infarction (MI) is associated with a lower risk of adverse outcomes, but the prognosis may not be benign. Our aim was to assess outcomes in MI with and without obstructive CAD, and in an age and sex matched comparison cohort without known cardiovascular disease.


      We performed a single centre analysis of consecutive patients undergoing coronary angiography for MI between 2007 and 2012. Patients were classified into those with obstructive CAD (≥ 50% epicardial coronary artery stenosis) and those without obstructive CAD (<50%). Myocardial infarction patient data was collected in an electronic registry and linked anonymously to national hospitalisation and mortality records. Age and sex matched patients without known CVD were identified from the community PREDICT cohort.


      Of the 2070 patients with MI, 302 (15%) had non-obstructive CAD. Compared to patients with obstructive disease they were younger (mean 57 v 61 years, p < 0.001), more likely to be women (50% vs 23%, p < 0.001), to be of Maori or Pacific vs. European ethnicity (p < 0.001), more likely to be lifelong non-smokers (46% v 38%, p = 0.02), non-diabetic (80 v 73%, p < 0.01), have no ST-segment deviation (78% v 46%, p < 0.001), and have a low risk Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events acute coronary syndrome (GRACE ACS) score (54 v 35%, p < 0.001). They were also less likely to receive ‘triple therapy’ secondary prevention medications (81% v 94%, p < 0.0001). The cumulative two-year Kaplan-Maier composite outcome of mortality or non-fatal MI was 14.3% for MI with obstructive CAD, 4.6% for MI without obstructive disease, and 2.2% for patients without prior CVD (p < 0.001).


      Myocardial infarction without obstructive coronary disease is common (∼1 in 7 patients) and is not clinically benign, with an adverse outcome rate double that of age and sex matched patients without CVD.


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