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Am J Cardiol. 2003 Dec 1;92(11):1267-70.

Long-term prognosis after normal dobutamine stress echocardiography.

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Department of Cardiology, IRCCS, Ospedale Maggiore, Milan, Italy.


Patients with normal dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) were shown to have a favorable outcome at an intermediate-term follow-up. However, there are scarce data regarding long-term survival after normal DSE. This study sought to assess the long-term outcome after normal DSE. We studied 401 patients (age 62 +/- 10 years, 264 men) who had a normal echocardiogram at rest and with high-dose dobutamine stress. End points during a mean follow-up of 5 +/- 1.7 years (minimum 3.5) were all-cause mortality and hard cardiac events (cardiac death and nonfatal myocardial infarction). During follow-up, 45 patients (11%) died due to various causes (cardiac death in 10 patients). Thirteen patients had nonfatal myocardial infarction (a total of 23 hard cardiac events). The annual mortality rate was 2% in the first 3 years and 2.4% between the fourth and sixth years. The annual hard cardiac event rate was 0.8% in the first 3 years and 1.7% between the fourth and sixth years. Predictors of mortality in a multivariate analysis model were advanced age (hazard ratio 1.2, 95% confidence interval CI 1.1 to 1.4) and higher heart rate at rest (hazard ratio 0.92, 95% confidence interval 0.85 to 0.99). Patients with normal DSE had excellent outcomes during the 3 years after the study. The cardiac event rate was higher between the fourth and sixth year; therefore, it may be useful to repeat the study after 3 years to reassess risk status.

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