Follow-up information was obtained from 148 patients who had normal resting and post-treadmill exercise echocardiograms to determine the prognostic value of a normal exercise echocardiogram in patients evaluated for suspected coronary artery disease. There were 77 men and 71 women with a mean age of 52.5 years and a pretest likelihood of coronary artery disease of 39%. Patients were followed for a mean duration of 28.4 ± 8.5 months. The exercise ECG was abnormal in 69 patients (47%) including 28 who had ischemic responses. Cardiac events occurred in six patients, three with normal and three with abnormal exercise ECGs. Events occurred only in those patients (6 of 68) who exercised to work loads less than 6 METs or who achieved less than 85% of the age-predicted maximal heart rate. Three patients had coronary artery bypass grafting for angina from 10.5 to 22.5 months after echocardiography. A fourth patient had bypass grafting for mild single-vessel disease at the time of mitral valve replacement. Two patients had myocardial infarctions (0.85% per year) at 7.5 and 41 months after echocardiography. There were no deaths. Coronary revascularization is infrequently required in the 28 months after a normal exercise echocardiogram. A normal exercise echocardiogram in a patient with good exercise capacity was predictive of an excellent prognosis, even in those who had abnormal exercise ECGs. Myocardial infarction and death were rare events, even in patients with decreased exercise capacity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine