OBJECTIVES: To compare the prognostic implication of stress echocardiography (SE) in a large cohort of hypertensive and normotensive patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease (CAD). The relative prognostic meaning of the SE result in hypertensive and normotensive patients remains to be addressed.
METHODS: The study group was formed by 11 542 patients (6214 hypertensive patients; 5328 normotensive patients) who underwent exercise (n= 686), dobutamine (n= 2524), or dipyridamole (n= 8332) SE for evaluation of known (n= 4563) or suspected (n= 6979) CAD. Patients were followed up for a median of 25 months (1st quartile, 7; 3rd quartile, 57).
RESULTS: Ischaemia on SE (new wall motion abnormality) was detected in 3209 (28%) patients. During follow-up, 1587 events (924 deaths, 663 non-fatal infarctions) occurred. Patients (n= 2764) undergoing revascularization were censored. The annual event rate was
7.0% in hypertensive and 5.7% in normotensive patients (P = 0.02) with known CAD, and 3.7% in hypertensive and 2.4% in normotensive patients (P< 0.0001) with suspected CAD. Ischaemia on stress echo, resting wall motion abnormality (RWMA), age, male sex, and diabetes mellitus were multivariable prognostic predictors in both patient groups. Analysing data according to the interaction of prognostically important echocardiographic covariates, such as ischaemia on SE and RWMA, an effective risk assessment was obtained in hypertensive as well as normotensive patients. The annual event rate was markedly higher in hypertensive than in normotensive patients with no ischaemia and no RWMA (2.5 and 1.7%, P = 0.0001). Finally, the incremental prognostic value of inducible ischaemia over clinical evaluation and resting left ventricular function was greater in hypertensive than in normotensive patients both with known and suspected CAD.
CONCLUSIONS: The SE result allows an effective prognostication in hypertensive and normotensive patients. However, a non-ischaemic test predicts better survival in normotensive than in hypertensive patients with no RWMA.
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