BACKGROUND--The purpose of this study was to assess the long-term value of dobutamine-atropine stress echocardiography (DSE) for prediction of late cardiac events in patients with proven or suspected coronary artery disease. METHODS AND RESULTS--Clinical data and DSE results were analyzed in 1734 consecutive patients undergoing DSE between 1989 and 1997. Seventy-four patients who underwent revascularization within 3 months of DSE and 1 patient lost to follow-up were excluded; the remaining 1659 (median age, 62 years; range, 14 to 99 years) were followed up for 36 months (range, 6 to 96 months). Wall motion abnormalities at rest and the presence and extent of stress-induced wall motion abnormalities (ischemia) were scored for each patient. Cardiac events were related to clinical and ECG data and DSE results. Four hundred twenty-eight cardiac events occurred in 366, documented cardiac death in 108 (total death, 247), nonfatal infarction in 128, and late revascularization in 192 patients. In a multivariable Cox proportional-hazards model, the ratio of documented cardiac death or (re)infarction was increased in the presence of stress-induced ischemia (hazard ratio, 3.3; 95% CI, 2.4 to 4.4) and extensive rest wall motion abnormalities (hazard ratio, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.3 to 2.6). The number of ischemic segments was predictive for late cardiac events. A normal DSE carried a relatively good prognosis, with an annual event rate of cardiac death or infarction of 1.3% over a 5-year period. CONCLUSIONS--In a large group of patients, DSE has an added value for predicting late cardiac events during long-term follow-up, improving the separation between high- risk and very-low-risk patients.

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Circulation (Baltimore)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam