Use of Exercise Echocardiography for Prognostic Evaluation of Patients With Known or Suspected Coronary Artery Disease fn1fn1This study would not have been possible without the support of the sonographers, fellows and staff of the Echocardiography Laboratory of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
OBJECTIVES:This study prospectively compared the incremental prognostic benefit of exercise echocardiography with that of exercise testing in a large cohort. BACKGROUND:Exercise echocardiography is widely accepted as a diagnostic tool, but the prognostic information provided by this test, incremental to clinical and stress testing evaluation, is ill-defined. METHODS:Clinical, exercise and echocardiographic variables were studied in a consecutive group of 500 patients undergoing exercise echocardiography. After exclusion of patients who underwent revascularization within 3 months of the stress test (n = 16, 3%) and those lost to follow-up (n = 21, 4%), the remaining 463 patients (mean [+/-SD] age 57 +/- 12 years, 302 men) were followed-up for 44 +/- 11 months. Outcome was related to the exercise and echocardiographic findings, and the incremental prognostic benefit of exercise echocardiography was compared with that of standard exercise testing. RESULTS:Cardiac events occurred in 81 patients (17%), including 33 (7%) with spontaneous events (cardiac death, myocardial infarction and unstable angina) and 48 with late revascularizations due to progressive symptoms. In a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model, the likelihood of any cardiac event was increased in the presence of ischemia (relative risk [RR] 5.06, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.09 to 8.29, p < 0.001) and lessened by more maximal stress, measured as percent age-predicted maximal heart rate (RR per 5% increment 0.84, 95% CI 0.77 to 0.92, p < 0.001). Spontaneous events were more strongly predicted by ischemia (RR 8.20, 95% CI 3.41 to 19.71, p < 0.001) and percent age-predicted maximal heart rate (RR per 5% increment 0.78, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.91, p < 0.001). An interactive logistic regression model showed that the addition of echocardiographic to exercise and clinical data offered incremental predictive value. CONCLUSIONS:The presence of ischemia on the exercise echocardiogram can predict whether patients will experience an event. This relation is independent of, and incremental to, clinical and exercise data.