Background: Coronary artery disease remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in women. The optimal non-invasive test for evaluation of ischemic heart disease in women is unknown. Although current guidelines support the choice of the exercise tolerance test (ETT) as a first line test for women with a normal baseline ECG and adequate exercise capabilities, supportive data for this recommendation are controversial.
Objective: The what is the optimal method for ischemia evaluation in women? (WOMEN) study was designed to determine the optimal non-invasive strategy for CAD risk detection of intermediate and high risk women presenting with chest pain or equivalent symptoms suggestive of ischemic heart disease. The study will prospectively compare the 2-year event rates in women capable of performing exercise treadmill testing or Tc-99 m tetrofosmin SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI).
Methods/study design: The study will enroll women presenting for the evaluation of chest pain or anginal equivalent symptoms who are capable of performing >5 METs of exercise while at intermediate-high pretest risk for ischemic heart disease who will be randomized to either ETT testing alone or with Tc-99 m tetrofosmin SPECT MPI. The null hypothesis for this project is that the exercise ECG has the same negative predictive value for risk detection as gated myocardial perfusion SPECT in women. The primary aim is to compare 2-year cardiac event rates in women randomized to SPECT MPI to those randomized to ETT.
Conclusions: The WOMEN study seeks to provide objective information for guidelines for the evaluation of symptomatic women with an intermediate-high likelihood for CAD.