Abstract

Gibson CM, Ryan KA, Kelley M, Rizzo MJ, Mesley R, Murphy S, Swanson J, Marble SJ, Dodge JT, Giugliano RP, Cannon CP, Antman EM. Methodologic drift in the assessment of TIMI grade 3 flow and its implications with respect to the reporting of angiographic trial results. Am Heart J. 1999;137:1179-84.

BACKGROUND: The Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) Study Group originally defined TIMI grade 3 flow (complete perfusion) as antegrade flow into the bed distal to the obstruction that occurs as promptly as antegrade flow into the bed proximal to the obstruction. Recently, several groups have defined TIMI grade 3 flow as opacification of the coronary artery within 3 cardiac cycles.

METHODS AND RESULTS: On the basis of heart rate data at the time of the cardiac catheterization and the time for dye to go down the artery (TIMI frame count/30 = seconds), we estimated the number of patients who would meet the 3 cardiac cycle criterion and compared this with the number of patients with TIMI grade 3 flow by using the original definition in 1157 patients from 3 recent TIMI trials (10 A, 10B, and 14). In 74 patients without acute myocardial infarction and normal coronary arteries, the fraction of a cardiac cycle required for dye to traverse the artery was a mean of 0.93 +/- 0.34 cardiac cycles (n = 74) (median 0.80, minimum 0.44, maximum 2.1, none >3.0 cycles). The mean heart rate at 90 minutes after thrombolysis in the TIMI 14 trial was 79.6 +/- 16.8 beats/min (n = 194), and the duration of 3 cardiac cycles was a mean of 2.36 seconds, or a TIMI frame count of 70.8 frames. In all trials, the rate of TIMI grade 3 flow was 57.3% (n = 663/1157) with the original definition and 66.8% (n = 743/1113) with the
CONCLUSIONS: A duration of 3 cardiac cycles for dye to traverse the artery lies approximately 6 SD above that observed in normal coronary arteries. A 3 cardiac cycle definition of TIMI grade 3 flow results in rates of normal perfusion that are approximately 10% higher than if the original definition of TIMI grade 3 flow is applied. Application of this simple correction factor may help place data reported with the 3 cardiac cycle definition of TIMI grade 3 flow in context.

Trial: TIMI 10B