Objective: To summarise existing data on the relation between the time from symptom onset until revascularisation (time to reperfusion) and the myocardial salvage index (MSI) calculated as proportion of non-necrotic myocardium inside oedematous myocardium on T2-weighted and T1-weighted late gadolinium enhancement MRI after ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
Methods: Studies including patients with revascularised STEMI and stating both the time to reperfusion and the MSI measured by T2-weighted and T1-weighted late gadolinium enhancement MRI were searched in MEDLINE, EMBASE and ISI Web of Science until 16 May 2020. A mixed effects model was used to evaluate the relation between the time to reperfusion and the MSI. The gender distribution and mean age in included patient groups, the timing of MRI, used MRI sequences and image interpretation methodology were included in the mixed effects model to explore between-study heterogeneity.
Results: We included 38 studies with 5106 patients. The pooled MSI was 42.6% (95% CI: 38.1 to 47.1). The pooled time to reperfusion was 3.8 hours (95% CI: 3.5 to 4.0). Every hour of delay in reperfusion was associated with an absolute decrease of 13.1% (95% CI: 11.5 to 14.6; p<0.001) in the MSI. Between-study heterogeneity was considerable (σ2=167.8). Differences in the gender distribution, timing of MRI and image interpretation among studies explained 45.2% of the between-study heterogeneity.
Conclusions: The MSI on T2-weighted and T1-weighted late gadolinium enhancement MRI correlates inversely with the time to reperfusion, which indicates that cardioprotection achieved by minimising the time to reperfusion leads to a higher MSI. The analysis revealed considerable heterogeneity between studies. The heterogeneity could partly be explained by differences in the gender distribution, timing and interpretation of MRI suggesting that the MRI-assessed MSI is not only influenced by cardioprotective therapy but also by patient characteristics and MRI parameters.