OBJECTIVES: To assess the performance of currently used stress tests for the detection of coronary artery disease (CAD) in a series of female hypertensive patients.
METHODS: We performed exercise electrocardiography (ECG), technetium-99m sestamibi (MIBI) single photon emission computed tomography, dobutamine and dipyridamole echocardiography, and coronary angiography in 76 hypertensive women.
RESULTS: Of the 76 study patients, 31 (41%) had significant CAD. The sensitivity of exercise ECG (81%), MIBI scanning (90%), and dobutamine echocardiography (87%) was greater than that of dipyridamole echocardiography (61%). This finding resulted from the lower sensitivity of dipyridamole echocardiography in the detection of single-vessel CAD (47% vs 76%, 88%, and 82% for the other 3 methods). In contrast, the sensitivity of the 4 tests was similar in the detection of multivessel CAD. The specificity of exercise ECG (56%) and MIBI scanning (53%) was less than that of dobutamine (82%, both p <0.01) and dipyridamole (91%, both p <0.001) echocardiography. This finding related to the lower specificity of exercise ECG in patients with either left ventricular hypertrophy or ST-T abnormalities at rest compared to the specificity in patients without these disorders (33% vs 89%, p <0.01). A lower MIBI scan specificity was found only in patients with left ventricular hypertrophy (31% vs 66%, p <0.05). The overall accuracy of dobutamine echocardiography reached 84% compared to exercise ECG (66%, p <0.01), MIBI scan (68%, p <0.05), and dipyridamole echocardiography (79%, p <0.05).
CONLCUSIONS: In conclusion, dobutamine echocardiography yielded satisfactory diagnostic accuracy for identifying CAD in hypertensive women. Although dipyridamole echocardiography had the greatest specificity, it might be limited in detecting mild CAD. Both exercise ECG and MIBI scanning had fare sensitivity; however, our findings limit the usefulness of these 2 tests in unselected patients.