Biomarkers of Thrombotic Status Predict Spontaneous Reperfusion in Patients With ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction

Rahim Kanji, Ying X. Gue, Vassilios Memtsas, Neil H. Spencer, Diana Gorog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spontaneous reperfusion, seen in ∼20% of patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), manifests as normal epicardial flow in the infarct-related artery, with or without ST-segment resolution, before percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The drivers mediating this are unknown.

The authors sought to relate spontaneous reperfusion to the thrombotic profile.

In a prospective study, blood from STEMI patients (n = 801) was tested pre-PCI to assess in vitro, point-of-care, occlusion times (OT) and endogenous lysis times (LT). Spontaneous reperfusion was defined as infarct-related artery Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction flow grade 3 before PCI. Patients were followed for major cardiovascular events (death, myocardial infarction, or stroke).

Spontaneous reperfusion was associated with a longer OT (435 seconds vs 366 seconds; P < 0.001) and a shorter LT (1,257 seconds vs 1,616 seconds; P < 0.001), lower troponin, and better left ventricular function. LT was superior to OT for predicting spontaneous reperfusion (area under the curve for LT: 0.707; 95% CI: 0.661-0.753; area under the curve for OT: 0.629; 95% CI: 0.581-0.677). Among patients with spontaneous reperfusion, those with complete, vs partial ST-segment resolution, had a longer OT (P = 0.002) and a shorter LT (P < 0.001). Spontaneous reperfusion was unrelated to clinical characteristics or pain-to-angiography times. Over 4 years, patients with spontaneous reperfusion experienced fewer major adverse cardiovascular events than those without (4.1% vs 10.6%; P = 0.013), especially in those with both spontaneous reperfusion and complete ST-segment resolution (1.5% vs 10.1%; P = 0.029).

We demonstrate a novel hematological signature in STEMI patients with spontaneous reperfusion, namely, decreased platelet reactivity and faster endogenous fibrinolysis, relating to smaller infarcts and improved survival. This finding indicates a role for modulating thrombotic status early after STEMI onset, to facilitate spontaneous reperfusion and improve outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1918-1932
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number19
Early online date8 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2023


  • endogenous fibrinolysis
  • myocardial infarction
  • platelet reactivity
  • spontaneous reperfusion
  • thrombotic status


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