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Am J Cardiol. 2009 Mar 1;103(5):626-31. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.10.033. Epub 2008 Dec 26.

Additive prognostic value of coronary flow reserve in patients with chest pain syndrome and normal or near-normal coronary arteries.

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CNR, Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Italy.


In patients with angiographically normal coronary arteries and chest pain, pharmacologic stress echocardiography can identify a subgroup of patients with a less benign prognosis. Coronary flow reserve (CFR) in the left anterior descending artery (LAD) can currently be combined with wall motion analysis during vasodilator stress echocardiography. The aim of this study was to assess the prognostic value of CFR response in patients with normal coronary arteries and normal wall motion during stress. We selected 394 patients (171 men, 61 +/- 11 years of age) who underwent dipyridamole stress echocardiography (0.84 mg/kg over 6 minutes) with 2-dimensional echocardiography and CFR evaluation of the LAD by Doppler. All had angiographically nonsignificant (<50% quantitatively assessed) stenosis in any major vessel, normal left ventricular function (wall motion score index 1), and test negativity for conventional wall motion criteria. Images were independently read by a core laboratory for wall motion and a core laboratory for CFR. Mean CFR was 2.5 +/- 0.6 and 87 patients (22%) had an abnormal CFR <2. During a median follow-up of 51 months, 31 events occurred, namely 4 deaths and 27 nonfatal myocardial infarctions (3 ST-elevated myocardial infarctions and 24 non-ST-elevated myocardial infarctions). Kaplan-Meier survival estimates for hard events showed a better outcome for those patients with a normal CFR compared with those with an abnormal CFR (96% vs 55%, p = 0.001, at 48 months of follow-up). In conclusion, in patients with angiographically normal or near-normal coronary arteries and preserved at-rest regional and global left ventricular function at baseline and during stress, CFR adds incremental value to the prognostic stratification achieved with clinical and angiographic data.

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