Minoca Study

Complete blockage or severe narrowing of a heart (coronary) artery by cholesterol plaque typically causes myocardial infarction (MI), also known as a heart attack. However, in 5% to 20% of cases, an angiogram will show “non-obstructive coronary artery disease,” which means that the arteries are less than halfway blocked. This type of heart attack, called myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA), is more common in women than men and affects up to 187,000 people in the United States each year. Unfortunately, physicians are still not sure how to properly treat and prevent this type of heart disease. More accurate information about the causes of MINOCA is needed in order for physicians to recognize the best strategies for diagnostic testing, treatment and prevention. We will help identify the heart problems that can lead to MINOCA using advanced imaging tests.

Our Method

1) Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): imaging from inside the artery. OCT may reveal a break in a cholesterol plaque or blood vessel wall or a blood clot inside the artery as a possible cause of heart attack.

2) MRI of the heart. An MRI can show the location of the heart damage and provide insight as to why the heart damage occurred.

We will use OCT and MRI in 125 women with MINOCA at sites in the U.S. and Canada. We will integrate the test results to find out how often the tests identify the cause of MINOCA.

Our Goal

The results of this study will detect the most likely causes of MINOCA. This, in turn, will help physicians make effective treatment and prevention choices for their patients and set the stage for future research studies to test specific treatments. Ultimately, we aim to lower the risk of MINOCA and to reduce the chance of another heart attack or death in women who have already suffered MINOCA.