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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1993 Nov 1;22(5):1446-54.

Silent ischemia after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty: incidence and prognostic significance.

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Division of Cardiology, University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.



The objective of this observational study was to assess the incidence and prognostic significance of silent ischemia after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty.


Apart from coronary angioplasty, prognosis of patients with silent ischemia is similar to that of patients with angina pectoris. However, similar data concerning silent ischemia associated with restenosis after coronary angioplasty are missing.


A consecutive series of 490 patients was investigated for asymptomatic ischemia on thallium-201 scintigraphy 6 months after successful coronary angioplasty. Repeat angiography was performed in a subgroup of patients with ischemia and repeat angioplasty was performed when clinically indicated. Patients were followed up for 2.2 +/- 0.8 years for cardiac events.


Six months after coronary angioplasty, ischemia was present in 112 (28%) of 405 patients, and 60% of these 112 were asymptomatic. Ischemia was associated with significant stenosis in 97%; in contrast, results of exercise electrocardiography were negative in 74% of patients with scintigraphic ischemia and angiographic restenosis. The degree of restenosis was similar in patients with symptomatic or silent ischemia (80 +/- 16% vs. 81 +/- 21%). The long-term prognosis of patients with silent ischemia was remarkably similar to that of symptomatic patients. A worse outcome of symptomatic patients was found only if repeat coronary angioplasty for restenosis was considered a separate event (p < 0.01). Silent and symptomatic ischemia predicted an increased risk for recurrent ischemic events but not for death.


Thus, absence of symptoms and negative findings on an exercise electrocardiogram may not reflect a good angioplasty result. In addition, silent ischemia due to restenosis after coronary angioplasty has a significant prognostic importance for recurrent symptomatic ischemic events that may be reduced by repeat angioplasty.

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