Objective: To assess the value of the pretest probability (PTP) of coronary artery disease (CAD) for predicting stress testing results and coronary events in patients with acute chest pain and negative troponins.
Patients and methods: A total of 3527 patients without a history of CAD referred to our chest pain unit with suspected acute coronary syndromes, nondiagnostic ECGs, and negative troponin levels underwent exercise stress testing. PTP was estimated with the CAD consortium prediction rule, and was categorized as low (<15%), low-intermediate (15-65%), intermediate-high (66-85%), and high (>85%). The endpoints were the presence of signs of inducible myocardial ischemia on stress testing and the occurrence of coronary events within 6 months.
Results: The probability of exercise-induced myocardial ischemia was 2.6, 12.6, 42.9, and 82.1% in patients with low, low-intermediate, intermediate-high, and high PTP, respectively (Ptrend<0.001). The cumulative rate of coronary events within 6 months was also significantly lower in patients with low PTP of CAD (0.8%) than in those with low-intermediate (6.9%), intermediate-high (32.5%), or high PTP (66.7%) (Ptrend<0.001). Per 10% increment in PTP of CAD, the adjusted odds ratios for inducible myocardial ischemia and coronary events within 6 months were, respectively, 1.71 (95% confidence interval: 1.61-1.85) and 1.87 (95% confidence interval: 1.74-2.01).
Conclusion: PTP was associated strongly with the likelihood of exercise-induced myocardial ischemia and coronary events in patients with suspected acute coronary syndromes and negative troponins. The yield of stress testing in the subset of patients with low PTP was very low.