BACKGROUND: Microvascular obstruction after reperfusion therapy of acute myocardial infarction is reported as an adverse promoter of left ventricular remodeling and is an important target to prevent deterioration into heart failure. In this study, we illustrate the early onset of a magnetic resonance imaged microvascular obstruction in a porcine model of acute myocardial infarction with the exact histological correlate. METHODS: Occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery followed by 3-h reperfusion was performed in 10 pigs. Microvascular obstruction was assessed by contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). After sacrifice, serial sectioned slices of the hearts matching the MRI were stained with Triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC). Biopsies were fixed, embedded in paraffin, and stained for hematoxylin-eosin. RESULTS: Microvascular obstruction was defined with MRI as a hypoenhanced no-reflow area within the hyperenhanced infarct region. Erythrocyte plugging was consistently observed in the no-reflow area and was completely absent in the adjacent hyperenhanced infarct region. CONCLUSION: This model of acute ischemia-reperfusion contributes to the histological comprehension of contrast-enhanced MRI during the early stages of myocardial infarction.