Supine Bicycle Exercise Echocardiography: A Potent Immediately Available Tool for Detection and Localization of Myocardial Ischemia for the Initial Cardiologist

Echocardiography. 1996 May;13(3):281-286. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8175.1996.tb00897.x.


BACKGROUND: Exercise echocardiography (EE) is being used increasingly as an investigative technique now that dynamic images can be captured digitally. Its equivalent reliability with scintigraphic methods has been demonstrated in a hospital setting. This study analyzes its impact on daily practice. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Standardized progressive stress was produced by supine bicycle ergometry. Echocardiographic images of complete cardiac cycles were obtained in standard apical and parasternal short-axis views before, during, and after maximum effort, and digitized for simultaneous analysis of synchronized images at rest and during exercise. Two hundred sixteen patients (175 men and 41 women; mean age 58 +/- 10 years) were studied. RESULTS: Image quality was suboptimal in 4 cases. In the remaining 212 cases, ischemia was detected in 91 cases, and the test was negative in 114 cases and doubtful in 7 cases. Control by selective coronary angiography, as indicated by the clinical situation, was performed in 52 cases. In this particular group, EE showed 87% sensitivity, which is significantly higher than the 59% recorded for conventional exercise testing (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: EE by bicycle ergometer in the supine position is a valid, noninvasive investigative technique that can be used in an outpatient situation (feasibility 95%) since it is readily available. Its value appears to be greatest in cases in which exercise ECG is not conclusive. A negative result enables the initial cardiologist to reassure the patient immediately, which has been demonstrated in the literature to have favorable prognostic value. (ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY, Volume 13, May 1996)