What are stunned myocardium and myocardial hibernation, and how do they occur?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: A Maziar Zafari, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Stunned myocardium is a condition of transient left ventricular dysfunction following an ischemic event to the myocardium. It occurs if coronary blood flow was impaired for a brief period of time (5 to 15 minutes). Usually, stunned myocardium persists for hours or days following the re-establishment of coronary blood flow.

However, prolonged exposure of the myocardium to an ischemic state, results in an impairment of its contractile function, which can be partial or complete, this is known as myocardial hibernation, and is reversible with revascularization.

Both myocardial stunning and hibernation occur because of loss of essential metabolites required for normal myocardial contractility, such as adenosine, which is needed for adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent contraction. [13]

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