Background: There is a high prevalence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients with diabetes mellitus. Detection of inducible ischaemia using treadmill exercise testing may be limited by the relatively poor inherent predictive accuracy of the test. The purpose of this study was to determine the value of dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) for the detection of CAD in patients with diabetes mellitus.
Methods: Patients with diabetes mellitus referred for cardiac assessment were considered eligible for study. DSE was performed in a standard fashion. Significant CAD was defined as a > 50% luminal diameter stenosis on coronary angiography.
Results: A total of 52 patients (mean age 59 years) with diabetes mellitus were studied prospectively using DSE. Risk factors for CAD included hypertension in 19, family history in 21, hypercholesterolaemia in 14, history of smoking in 38. The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of DSE for detection of CAD were 82, 54, 84 and 50% respectively.
Conclusion: The specificity of DSE for CAD in patients with diabetes mellitus is low. Whether this reflects an underdetection of small vessel disease by contrast coronary angiography or whether it relates to test performance is unclear.