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Diabet Med. 2001 Nov;18(11):900-5.

Use of dobutamine stress echocardiography in detecting silent myocardial ischaemia in asymptomatic diabetic patients: a comparison with thallium scintigraphy and exercise testing.

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Department of Endocrinology, University Hospital, Besançon, France.



Silent myocardial ischaemia is frequent in diabetic patients. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of thallium-201 single-photon emission computed tomography (201Tl SPECT) coupled with exercise stress testing (EST), and dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) in the detection of asymptomatic coronary artery disease.


Fifty-six asymptomatic diabetic patients, with a known duration of diabetes > 15 years for Type 1 and > 5 years for Type 2, having at least three added risk factors, but without rest ECG abnormalities, were enrolled in this prospective study. All of them were submitted to DSE with a maximum infusion rate of 40 microg/kg per min dobutamine +/- i.v. atropine, and to 201Tl SPECT coupled with EST. Coronary angiography was performed if at least one test was abnormal.


Diabetic patients were 37 males and 19 females, aged mean (sd) 60 +/- 10 years, 10 Type 1 and 46 Type 2, with a known duration of disease of mean (sd) 17 +/- 9 years. Feasibility of DSE was 91%. No serious complication occurred during the test. Coronary angiography was performed in 26 patients (47%); 17 were abnormal (30% of the whole group): six patients had a one-vessel, six a two-vessel and five a three-vessel disease. Predictive positive value was 69% for DSE, 75% for 201Tl SPECT and 60% for EST. DSE was falsely negative in four cases vs. eight for 201Tl SPECT and nine for EST.


Asymptomatic coronary disease is common in diabetes associated with other risk factors. DSE appears useful in its detection and a good alternative to 201Tl SPECT.

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