Aims: In this study we evaluated the prognostic value of three methods of early risk estimation in patients with unstable coronary disease.
Methods and results: The methods evaluated were: clinical risk estimation at hospital admission, continuous ST analysis with computerized vectorcardiography for 24 h and serial measurements of creatinine kinase-MB for 48 h. Twenty-seven (14%) of the 195 patients died or had a non-fatal infarction within one year. Clinical risk evaluation correctly identified a subgroup of patients with low risk but did not otherwise predict outcome. Fifty-six (29%) patients had ST vector magnitude episodes on vectorcardiography, 70 (38%) had three or more episodes of ST change vector magnitude and 74 (38%) had a peak creatinine kinase-MB value of 6 microgram.l-1 or more. The even rate for patients with ST vector magnitude episodes (23%) was significantly higher than for those without (10%; P < 0.05). For patients with and without three or more episodes of ST change vector magnitude the event rate was 23% and 9% respectively (P < 0.05) and for patients with and without creatinine kinase-MB > or = 6 microgram.l-1 the event rate was 23% and 8% respectively (P < 0.01). The positive predictive value of having none, either one or both of the ST or creatinine kinase-MB markers positive was incremental.
Conclusion: Continuous vectorcardiographic monitoring of ischaemia in combination with serial creatinine kinase-MB measurement considerably improves risk stratification in unstable coronary disease.