Integrated evaluation of relation between coronary lesion features and stress echocardiography results: the importance of coronary lesion morphology

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1999 Mar;33(3):717-26. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(98)00613-5.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to analyze, in the same group of patients, the relationship between multiple variables of coronary lesion and results of exercise, dobutamine and dipyridamole stress echocardiography tests.

Background: Integrated evaluation of the relation between stress echocardiography results and angiographic variables should include not only the assessment of stenosis severity but also evaluation of other quantitative and qualitative features of coronary stenosis.

Methods: Study population consisted of 168 (138 male, 30 female, mean age 51+/-9 years) patients, on whom exercise (Bruce treadmill protocol), dobutamine (up to 40 mcg/kg/min) and dipyridamole (0.84 mg/kg over 10 min) stress echocardiography tests were performed. Stress echocardiography test was considered positive for myocardial ischemia when a new wall motion abnormality was observed. One-vessel coronary stenosis ranging from mild stenosis to complete obstruction of the vessel was present in 153 patients, and 15 patients had normal coronary arteries. The observed angiographic variables included particular coronary vessel, stenosis location, the presence of collaterals, plaque morphology according to Ambrose classification, percent diameter stenosis and obstruction diameter as assessed by quantitative coronary arteriography.

Results: Covariates significantly associated with the results of physical and pharmacological stress tests included for all three stress modalities presence of collateral circulation, percent diameter stenosis and obstruction diameter, as well as lesion morphology (p < 0.05 for all, except collaterals for dobutamine stress test, p = 0.06). By stepwise multiple logistic regression analysis, the strongest predictor of the outcome of exercise echocardiography test was only percent diameter stenosis (p = 0.0002). However, both dobutamine and particularly dipyridamole stress echocardiography results were associated not only with stenosis severity - percent diameter stenosis (dobutamine, p = 0.04; dipyridamole, p = 0.003) - but also, and even more strongly, with lesion morphology (dobutamine, p = 0.006; dipyridamole, p = 0.0009). As all of stress echocardiography results were significantly associated with percent diameter stenosis, the best angiographic cutoff in relation to the results of stress echocardiography test was: exercise, 54%; dobutamine, 58% and dipyridamole, 60% (p < 0.05 vs. exercise).

Conclusions: Integrated evaluation of angiographic variables have shown that the results of dobutamine and dipyridamole stress echocardiography are not only influenced by stenosis severity but also, and even more importantly, by plaque morphology. The results of exercise stress echocardiography, although separately influenced by plaque morphology, are predominantly influenced by stenosis severity, due to a stronger exercise capacity in provoking myocardial ischemia in milder forms of coronary stenosis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiotonic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Dipyridamole / administration & dosage
  • Dobutamine / administration & dosage
  • Echocardiography* / methods
  • Exercise Test
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Dobutamine
  • Dipyridamole