Exercise echocardiographic detection of coronary artery disease in women

Stephen G. Sawada, Thomas Ryan, Naomi S. Fineberg, William F. Armstrong, Walter E. Judson, Paul L. McHenry, Harvey Feigenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

117 Scopus citations


The utility of exercise echocardiography for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease has been demonstrated in populations consisting largely of men with a high prevalence of disease. To determine the diagnostic value of exercise echocardiography in women, 57 women who presented with chest pain were studied with coronary cineangiography and echocardiography combined with either treadmill (n = 38) or bicycle exercise (n = 19). Significant coronary artery disease (≥50% reduction in luminal diameter) was present in 28 (49%) of 57 patients, including 16 (84%) of 19 who had typical angina, and 12 (32%) of 38 who had atypical chest pain. The overall sensitivity and specificity of echocardiography were both 86%. Exercise echocardiography correctly determined the presence or absence of coronary artery disease in 32 (84%) of 38 patients who had atypical chest pain and in 17 (89%) of 19 who had typical angina (p = NS). The exercise electrocardiogram (ECG) was nondiagnostic in 17 patients (30%) who had rest ST segment depression or ST depression with exercise that could also be induced by hyperventilation or changes in position. The correct diagnosis was made by echocardiography in 14 (82%) of 17 patients with a nondiagnostic exercise ECG. In conclusion, exercise echocardiography has a clinically useful level of sensitivity and specificity for the detection of coronary artery disease in women. The technique provides diagnostic information in women presenting with atypical chest pain and in those who have a nondiagnostic exercise ECG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1440-1447
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 15 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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