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Am Heart J. 1989 Oct;118(4):649-54.

The role of exercise-induced silent myocardial ischemia in patients with abnormal left ventricular function. A report from the Coronary Artery Surgery Study (CASS) registry.

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  • 1Evans Memorial Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital, Boston, MA 02188.


To evaluate the significance of ischemic ST depression without anginal chest pain (silent ischemia) during exercise testing among patients with abnormal left ventricular function, the data on 121 such patients with proven coronary artery disease (CAD) from the Coronary Artery Surgery Study (CASS) registry were analyzed. The patients with silent ischemia (group 1) were compared to: 124 CAD patients with both ST depression and angina (symptomatic ischemia, group 2); 159 CAD patients with neither ST depression nor angina (no ischemia, group 3); and 37 patients without CAD (controls). Survival at 7 years with medical therapy was similar for groups 1 (55%) and 2 (60%), but was substantially better for group 3 (73%, p = 0.001). Among group 1 patients with silent ischemia, survival was related to the severity of CAD (p = 0.001). Patients with silent ischemia and three-vessel CAD had a poor 7-year survival rate (37%) when treated medically. A comparable but non-randomized group of patients with silent ischemia and three-vessel CAD who underwent coronary artery bypass surgery had a much better 7-year survival rate (83%, p less than 0.0001). These results suggest that among patients with CAD and abnormal left ventricular function, silent ischemia adversely affects survival and can identify a higher risk subset of patients whose survival might be improved after coronary bypass surgery.

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