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Am J Cardiol. 1997 Dec 1;80(11):1402-7.

Improved specificity of transesophageal dobutamine stress echocardiography compared to standard tests for evaluation of coronary artery disease in women presenting with chest pain.

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Cardiology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The detection of coronary artery disease (CAD) by noninvasive methods has been hindered in women by the high rate of false-positive results. To determine the feasibility and accuracy of transesophageal dobutamine stress echocardiography for identification of CAD in women, we studied 84 patients (age 51 +/- 11 years) who underwent symptom-limited exercise treadmill testing, exercise thallium-201 scintigraphy, and coronary angiography for evaluation of anginal chest pain. Of the 84 patients, 62 had normal coronary arteries or nonsignificant coronary lesions, and 22 had significant stenosis of > or = 1 major coronary artery. During treadmill exercise, repolarization changes were observed in 16 of 21 patients with CAD and in 19 of 60 patients with normal coronary arteries. With thallium scintigraphy, a reversible defect was observed in 19 of 22 patients with CAD and in 12 of 60 patients with normal coronary arteries. Regional wall motion abnormalities during dobutamine infusion developed in 18 of 22 patients with CAD and in none of the 62 patients with normal coronary arteries. All 3 tests had similar sensitivity for detection of CAD (76% for exercise treadmill test, 86% for thallium scintigraphy, and 82% for transesophageal dobutamine stress echocardiography). However, transesophageal dobutamine stress echocardiography had significantly higher specificity than the other 2 tests (100% vs 68% for exercise treadmill test and 80% for thallium scintigraphy; p = 0.0001). Thus, transesophageal dobutamine stress echocardiography is accurate for evaluation of CAD among women presenting with chest pain; its use should be considered when more conventional tests are equivocal or technically suboptimal.

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