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Clin Physiol. 1991 Sep;11(5):477-88.

Adenosine infusion to patients with ischaemic heart disease may provoke left ventricular dysfunction detected by echocardiography.

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Department of Clinical Physiology, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Infusion of the endogenous vasodilator adenosine to patients with ischaemic heart disease (IHD) frequently provokes myocardial ischaemia, possibly caused by a coronary steal. The aim of this study was to detect the occurrence and incidence of disturbances in left ventricular (LV) wall motion and Doppler indices of altered LV function during infusion of adenosine. Thirty-seven patients (six female) aged 37-74 years with IHD, verified by coronary angiography, were given up to 200 micrograms kg-1 min-1 (mean 155 +/- 5) adenosine i.v. for 18 +/- 1 min. LV wall motion was monitored by two-dimensional echocardiography (2D-echo). Doppler spectral signal was obtained from the mitral blood flow. All but six of the patients experienced angina pectoris of habitual character in connection with the adenosine infusion. Heart rate increased by 22 +/- 1 beats min-1, systolic blood pressure was unchanged, but diastolic blood pressure decreased slightly. 2D-echo revealed severe regional LV wall motion disturbances already in the basal state in 17 patients. During infusion of adenosine, these abnormalities were aggravated and disturbances also occurred in another 15 patients. Thus, adenosine increased the sensitivity for IHD in this selected material from 49 to 89%. In all, the mean index of wall motion abnormalities increased from 5.1 +/- 1.1 to 10.1 +/- 1.4 (P less than 0.001). The diastolic LV filling characteristics, as evaluated by the Doppler A/E ratios, were of limited value for determination of IHD grade. It is concluded that infusion of adenosine to patients with IHD frequently elicits myocardial ischaemia with disturbances in LV function, and offers an alternative to exercise for stress echocardiography.

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