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Circulation. 1994 Aug;90(2):762-8.

Effects of treatment on outcome in mildly symptomatic patients with ischemia during daily life. The Atenolol Silent Ischemia Study (ASIST)

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  • 1University of Florida, Gainesville.



Detection of asymptomatic ischemia in patients with coronary artery disease has been associated with increased risk for adverse outcome, but treatment of patients with asymptomatic ischemia remains controversial. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to determine if treatment reduces adverse outcome in patients with daily life ischemia.


A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic outpatients with daily life silent ischemia due to coronary artery disease was conducted. The primary outcome measure was event-free survival at 1 year by Kaplan-Meier analysis. Events were death, resuscitated ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation, myocardial infarction, hospitalization for unstable angina, aggravation of angina, or revascularization. The secondary outcome was ischemia during ambulatory ECG monitoring at 4 weeks. Three hundred six outpatients with mild or no angina (Canadian Cardiovascular Society class I or II), abnormal exercise tests, and ischemia on ambulatory monitoring were randomized to receive either atenolol (100 mg/d) or placebo. After 4 weeks of treatment, the number (mean +/- SD, 3.6 +/- 4.2 versus 1.7 +/- 4.6 episodes, P < .001) and average duration (30 +/- 3.3 versus 16.4 +/- 6.7 minutes, P < .001) of ischemic episodes per 48 hours of ambulatory monitoring decreased in atenolol- compared with placebo-assigned patients (4.4 +/- 4.6 to 3.1 +/- 6.0 episodes and 36.6 +/- 4.1 to 30 +/- 5.5 minutes). Event-free survival improved in atenolol-treated patients (P < .0066), who had an increased time to onset of first adverse event (120 versus 79 days) and fewer total first events compared with placebo (relative risk, 0.44; 95% confidence intervals, 0.26 to 0.75; P = .001). There was a nonsignificant trend for fewer serious events (death, resuscitation from ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or hospitalization for unstable angina) in atenolol-treated patients (relative risk, 0.55; 95% confidence intervals, 0.22 to 1.33; P = .175). The most powerful univariate and multivariate correlate of event-free survival was absence of ischemia on ambulatory monitoring at 4 weeks. Side effects were mild and generally similar comparing atenolol- and placebo-treated patients, although bradycardia was more frequent with atenolol.


Atenolol treatment reduced daily life ischemia and was associated with reduced risk for adverse outcome in asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients compared with placebo.

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  • ACP J Club. 1995 Mar-Apr;122(2):32.
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