Author + information
- Received August 6, 1993
- Revision received August 10, 1994
- Accepted October 5, 1994
- Published online March 1, 1995.
- Raffaele Bugiardini, MD, FACCa,*,
- Alberico Borghi, MDa,
- Andrea Pozzati, MDa,
- Augusto Ruggeri, MDa,
- Paolo Puddu, MDa and
- Attilio Maseri, MD, FACCa,*
- ↵*Address for correspondence: Dr. Raffaelc Bugiardini, Istituto di Patologia Medica III, Policlinico S. Orsola, Via Massarenti, 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy.
Objectives. This study was undertaken to compare the relative power of the severity of angina versus that of any other clinical, electrocardiographic (ECG) and angiographic findings in predicting the risk of subsequent in-hospital coronary events in patients admitted to the coronary care unit for treatment of unstable angina.
Background. The presence or absence of chest pain has traditionally been used to guide management and therapy of unstable angina. However, recent studies raised the possibility that the cumulative duration of ischemia may be an additional index of prognosis.
Methods. We studied 104 consecutive patients admitted to the coronary care unit because of unstable angina. Diaries of symptoms were accurately kept. All patients underwent Holter ambulatory ECG monitoring during the 1st 24 h and angiography within 1 week of admission.
Results. During the hospital stay, 41 patients (group 1) had subsequent coronary events; the remaining 63 patients (group 2) had a good clinical outcome. Recurrence of chest pain after admission was observed in 76% of patients: 36 of the 41 group 1 patients (sensitivity 88%) and 43 of the 63 group 2 patients (specificity 32%). Anginal scores (frequency and persistence of pain, duration of each single episode and pain-free interval) showed high specificity but low sensitivity for detecting evolution toward subsequent coronary events. On Holter monitoring, the duration/24 h of the total number of ischemic episodes was consistently greater in group 1 than in group 2. A cumulative duration of ischemia ≥60 min/24 h was observed in 34 of the 41 group 1 patients (sensitivity 83%) but in only 16 of the 63 group 2 patients (specificity 75%). High risk coronary artery lesions (left main coronary artery disease or complex stenosis) were detected in 36 of the 41 group 1 patients and in 26 of the 63 group 2 patients.
Conclusions. Transient myocardial ischemia detected by Holter monitoring, but not chest pain, is the best predictor of unfavorable short-term clinical outcome. The decision to perform early angiography and revascularization cannot be based on symptoms alone.
- Received August 6, 1993.
- Revision received August 10, 1994.
- Accepted October 5, 1994.
- American College of Cardiology