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Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 2013 Jun;27(3):229-34. doi: 10.1007/s10557-013-6439-z.

Lack of effect of nitrates on exercise stress test results in patients with microvascular angina.

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Istituto di Cardiologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo A. Gemelli, 8, 00168 Rome, Italy.



To assess the effects of short-acting nitrates on exercise stress test (EST) results and the relation between EST results and coronary blood flow (CBF) response to nitrates in patients with microvascular angina (MVA).


We completed 2 symptom/sign limited ESTs on 2 separate days, in a random sequence and in pharmacological washout, in 29 MVA patients and in 24 patients with obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD): one EST was performed without any intervention (control EST, C-EST), and the other after sublingual isosorbide dinitrate, 5 mg (nitrate EST, N-EST). CBF response to nitroglycerin (25 μg) was assessed in the left anterior descending coronary artery by transthoracic Doppler-echocardiography.


At C-EST. ST-segment depression ≥1 mm (STD) was induced in 26 (90 %) and 23 (96 %) MVA and CAD patients, respectively (p=0.42), whereas at N-EST, STD was induced in 25 (86 %) and 14 (56 %) MVA and CAD patients, respectively (p=0.01). Time and rate pressure product at 1 mm STD increased during N-EST, compared to C-EST, in CAD patients (475±115 vs. 365±146 s, p<0.001; and 23511±4352 vs. 20583±6234 bpm∙mmHg, respectively, p=0.01), but not in MVA patients (308±160 vs. 284±136 s; p=0.19; and 21290±5438 vs. 20818±4286 bpm∙mmHg, respectively, p=0.35). In MVA patients, a significant correlation was found between heart rate at STD during N-EST and CBF response to nitroglycerin (r=0.40, p=0.04).


Short-acting nitrates improve EST results in CAD, but not in MVA patients. In MVA patients a lower nitrate-dependent coronary microvascular dilation may contribute to the lack of effects of nitrates on EST results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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