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Myocardial viability testing: all STICHed up, or about to be REVIVED?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-126a
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number2
Published7 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.

King's Authors


Patients with ischaemic left ventricular dysfunction frequently undergo myocardial viability testing. The historical model presumes that those who have extensive areas of dysfunctional-yet-viable myocardium derive particular benefit from revascularization, whilst those without extensive viability do not. These suppositions rely on the theory of hibernation and are based on data of low quality: taking a dogmatic approach may therefore lead to patients being refused appropriate, prognostically important treatment. Recent data from a sub-study of the randomized STICH trial challenges these historical concepts, as the volume of viable myocardium failed to predict the effectiveness of coronary artery bypass grafting. Should the Heart Team now abandon viability testing, or are new paradigms needed in the way we interpret viability? This state-of-the-art review critically examines the evidence base for viability testing, focusing in particular on the presumed interactions between viability, functional recovery, revascularization and prognosis which underly the traditional model. We consider whether viability should relate solely to dysfunctional myocardium or be considered more broadly and explore wider uses of viability testingoutside of revascularization decision-making. Finally, we look forward to ongoing and future randomized trials, which will shape evidence-based clinical practice in the future.

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