We investigated the effect of thrombosis in one coronary artery upon the vascular resistance of another coronary artery. In previous investigations, using an animal model of unstable angina, we have observed increased resistance downstream from thrombus within a left circumflex coronary artery (LCx) stenosis and vasoconstriction of collateral vessels from the left anterior descending artery (LAD) supplying the distal LCx vascular bed. In the present paper, we induced thrombosis within a stenosis of the LCx of 16 beagle dogs, and observed the changes in blood flow to the myocardium supplied by the LAD using the radioactive microsphere technique. This blood flow decreased with thrombosis (P = 0.005) in these animals, whereas it did not do so in three time-control experiments. The pressures across the coronary vascular bed, i.e. arterial pressure to coronary venous pressure (coronary sinus catheter), did not change. Thus the vascular resistance of the LAD bed increased significantly from 147±ll.5 mmHg/ml/sec/g of tissue to 172±13.4 mmHg/ml/sec/g of tissue (P = 0.02). As the LAD territory is not perfused with blood from the artery containing thrombus, we conclude that the effect observed is caused either by release of vasoconstrictors from the thrombus into the general circulation, or by activation of a neural reflex vasoconstriction. The study suggests that unstable angina involving thrombosis in one coronary artery is a global coronary vascular disease.

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