Dipyridamole echocardiography as a useful and safe test in the assessment of coronary artery disease in the elderly

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1991 Oct;39(10):993-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1991.tb04046.x.


We prospectively studied the sensitivity, specificity, feasibility, and safety of high-dose dipyridamole echocardiography, compared to exercise electrocardiography in 130 subjects (67 younger and 63 elderly patients) referred for angiographic evaluation of suspected or proven coronary artery disease. Sensitivity, specificity, and feasibility of dipyridamole echocardiography were respectively 75.5%, 100%, and 88.0% in younger patients and 82.9%, 100%, and 79.4% in elderly patients (P = NS). The sensitivity of exercise electrocardiography was 72.7% in young and 66.6% in elderly patients (P = NS); specificity 66.0% vs 60.0% (P = NS); feasibility 83.6 vs 63.5 (P = 0.05). Forty-nine younger and 38 elderly patients performed both tests. Sensitivity of dipyridamole echocardiography compared to exercise electrocardiography was 76.2% vs 73.8% in young patients and 83.3% vs 70% in the older group (P = NS). The feasibility of the two tests was significantly different in the elderly group only (dipyridamole echocardiography 79.4% vs exercise electrocardiography 63.5%; P less than 0.01). The incidence of side effects during dipyridamole echocardiography was similar in the two groups, except for dyspnea which was observed in 20% of older and 5% of younger patients (P less than 0.05). Our data demonstrate that the dipyridamole test combined with echocardiographic monitoring of regional myocardial contractility may be considered a valid non-invasive method for evaluating coronary artery disease in the elderly and that this test is a satisfactory alternative to the exercise stress test.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis*
  • Dipyridamole*
  • Echocardiography*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Exercise Test
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Dipyridamole