Abnormal coronary vasomotion as a prognostic indicator of cardiovascular events in women: results from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-Sponsored Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE)

Circulation. 2004 Feb 17;109(6):722-5. doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000115525.92645.16.


Background: Coronary vascular dysfunction has been linked to atherosclerosis and adverse cardiovascular outcomes in men, but these relationships have not been firmly established in women.

Methods and results: As part of the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 163 women referred for clinically indicated coronary angiography underwent coronary reactivity assessment with quantitative coronary angiography and intracoronary Doppler flow before and after intracoronary administration of acetylcholine, adenosine, and nitroglycerin and were then followed up for clinical outcomes. History of hypertension was present in 61%, dyslipidemia in 54%, diabetes in 26%, and current tobacco use in 21% of women enrolled. Seventy-five percent had no or only mild epicardial coronary artery disease (CAD). Over a median follow-up of 48 months, events occurred in 58 women. On bivariate analysis, women with an event had significantly less change in coronary cross-sectional area (DeltaCSA) in response to acetylcholine (P=0.0006) and nitroglycerin (P=0.04). In addition, women with abnormal coronary dilator response to acetylcholine had less time free from cardiovascular events (P=0.004). In multivariable analysis, after controlling for age, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, tobacco use, and CAD severity, %DeltaCSA with acetylcholine (P=0.001) independently predicted events. When the outcome was restricted to only death, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and stroke, %DeltaCSA with acetylcholine remained a significant predictor (P=0.006).

Conclusions: In women in this study, impaired coronary vasomotor response to acetylcholine was independently linked to adverse cardiovascular outcomes regardless of CAD severity.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine
  • Adenosine
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Circulation
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnostic imaging
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Syndrome
  • Vasodilation
  • Vasodilator Agents*


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Adenosine
  • Acetylcholine