Aims: To determine the prognostic value of a normal stress echocardiogram in the setting of a large district general non-university hospital in the United Kingdom.
Methods: Between January 1996 and December 1999, all patients who had undergone stress echocardiography were identified and those with normal results were studied. Normal stress echocardiograms were found in 252 patients, 19 of whom were lost to follow-up. Deaths and nonfatal myocardial infarctions were considered hard cardiac events and data was collected in the remaining 233 patients.
Results: Among the 233 patients, the pre-test probability of coronary artery disease was low in 68 (27.9%) and intermediate or high in 168 (72.1%). During a follow-up period of mean (SD) 2.7 (1.1) years, death occurred in 4 patients of which 3 were consequent to acute myocardial infarctions and 1 was unexplained. One patient sustained a nonfatal infarction. Thus, the annualized mortality and hard event rates were 0.6% per patient/year and 0.8% per patient/year, respectively.
Conclusions: A normal stress echocardiogram portends an excellent prognosis, even in a cohort with a high proportion of patients having intermediate or high pre-test probability of coronary artery disease.