The effects of isometric exercise on regional left ventricular mechanical function and regional coronary blood flow were evaluated in 17 patients with significant proximal stenosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery and 10 patients with normal coronary arteriograms. All patients had normal myocardial contractility in the basal condition. All performed isometric handgrip exercise at 50% of the maximal voluntary contraction for 3 min during two-dimensional echocardiographic monitoring and hemodynamic evaluation of great cardiac vein flow by thermodilution technique. During isometric exercise, 7 of the 17 patients with left anterior descending coronary stenosis developed asynergy in the anterior territory (anterior or septal segment, or both) (group I); the remaining 10 showed normal myocardial contraction during the test (group II). The 10 normal subjects manifested no regional asynergy during the test (control group). The increase in great cardiac vein flow at peak isometric exercise was significantly smaller (p <0.01) in group I (+15 ± 8%) than that in group II (+98 ± 48%) and the control group (+64 ± 22%). Anterior coronaryvascular resistance decreased in group II (-32 ± 13%) and in the control group (-25 ± 8%) bus increased in group I (+6 ± 8%, p <0.01 versus group II and control group). These data demonstrate that handgrip-induced myocardial asynergy is associated, in our study patients, with an abnormal response of the regional coronary circulation. The increase in coronary vascular resistance in group I patients with asynergy demonstrates that functional mechanisms play a dominant role in left ventricular mechanical dysfunction induced by isometric exercise.
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