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Am J Transplant. 2008 Jul;8(7):1523-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2008.02276.x.

Predictive value of dobutamine stress echocardiography for coronary artery disease detection in liver transplant candidates.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.


Patients with obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) are at increased risk of poor outcomes. The accuracy of dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) to detect obstructive CAD is not well established in this population. We retrospectively identified patients with end-stage liver disease who underwent both DSE and coronary angiography as part of risk stratification prior to OLT. One hundred and five patients had both DSE and angiography, of whom 14 had known CAD and 27 failed to reach target heart rate during DSE. Among the remaining 64 patients (45 men; average age 61 +/- 8 years) DSE had a low sensitivity (13%), high specificity (85%), low positive predictive value (PPV) (22%) and intermediate negative predictive value (NPV) (75%) for obstructive CAD. DSE as a screening test for obstructive CAD in OLT candidates has a poor sensitivity. The frequent chronotropic incompetence and low sensitivity in patients who achieve target heart rate, even in those with multiple cardiovascular disease risk factors, suggest that alternative or additional methods of risk stratification are necessary.

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