Sex and diagnostic evaluation of possible coronary artery disease after exercise treadmill testing at one academic teaching center Academic Article uri icon


  • Controversy exists as to whether a sex bias exists that affects the diagnostic approach to suspected coronary artery disease: previous studies have used coronary angiography, but not other noninvasive testing, as a primary end point. This investigation examined posttest sex differences in diagnostic evaluation after exercise treadmill testing according to a broader end point than just coronary angiography alone. The design was a cohort analytic study with a 90-day follow-up. The study was done at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, an academic group practice. Patients included consecutive adults (1023 men and 579 women) with chest pain but no documented coronary disease who were referred for symptom-limited exercise treadmill testing without adjunctive imaging; none had undergone prior invasive cardiac procedures. Main outcome measures included (1) performance of any subsequent diagnostic study (invasive or noninvasive) and (2) performance of coronary angiography as the next diagnostic study. During follow-up, 89 (8.7%) men and 48 (8.3%) women underwent a second diagnostic study (odds ratio 0.95; 95% confidence interval 0.66 to 1.37; p > 0.8), whereas 64 (6.3%) men and 21 (3.6%) women went straight to coronary angiography (odds ratio 0.56; 95% confidence interval 0.34 to 0.93; p = 0.02). In multivariable logistic regression analyses, which considered baseline clinical characteristics, the ST-segment response, and other prognostically important exercise responses, women tended to be less likely than men to be referred to any second test (adjusted odds ratio 0.70; 95% confidence interval 0.42 to 1.19; p > 0.1) but were markedly and significantly less likely to be referred straight to coronary angiography (adjusted odds ratio 0.33; 95% confidence interval 0.17 to 0.65). After exercise treadmill testing, women were only slightly less likely than men to be referred for subsequent diagnostic testing; they were, however, much less likely to be referred straight to coronary angiography as opposed to another noninvasive study.


  • Lauer, Michael S
  • Pashkow, Fredric J
  • Snader, Claire E
  • Harvey, Sharon A
  • Thomas, James D
  • Marwick, Thomas H

publication date

  • November 1997