Objectives: Adenosine, a potent coronary vasodilator is used as a pharmacologic stress agent for the assessment of coronary artery disease. A paucity of data exists on its effects on filling dynamics. Accordingly, this study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of adenosine on left ventricular filling as assessed by Doppler echocardiography.
Methods and results: We studied 69 patients (45 men, 24 women, aged 61+/-11 years) referred for evaluation of coronary artery disease. Two-dimensional echocardiography and pulsed-Doppler recordings at the mitral valve tips and annulus were performed at baseline and at maximal adenosine infusion of 140 microg/kg/min. During adenosine infusion, an increase in heart rate occurred (70+/-14 beats/min to 85+/-16 beats/min), with a mild decrease in blood pressure (130/75+/-26/13 mm Hg vs 119/66+/-25/13 mm Hg); both p < 0.02. Changes in filling dynamics included an increase in peak early inflow velocity, E/A ratio, and normalized peak filling rate. Of the patients investigated, 23 had one-vessel coronary artery disease, 29 had coronary disease in two vessels or more by angiography, and 17 had no significant disease. Patients without coronary artery disease (controls) had mild changes in E/A ratio (mean 7%). Patients with coronary artery disease had a more heterogeneous change in filling dynamics (range 43% to 369%, mean 26%), with a significant overlap with controls. However, changes in E/A ratio during adenosine infusion that exceeded the confidence limits of normal (-20% to +30%) were specific for coronary artery disease, with a positive predictive value of 84%.
Conclusions: Normally, adenosine induces significant increases in early filling as assessed by Doppler. The changes in patients with coronary stenosis are more variable. When these changes fall outside the confidence limits of normal, they are predictive of coronary artery disease.