The purpose of this study was to determine the prognosis of medically treated patients with three-vessel coronary artery disease and normal left ventricular function who do not have severe ischemia on exercise radionuclide angiography. The absence of severe ischemia was defined prospectively (in accordance with previously published criteria) as the presence of at least one of the following: (1) workload more than 600 kg-m/min, (2) ST-segment depression of less than 1 mm, or (3) unchanged or increased left ventricular ejection fraction during exercise. Of 42 patients (33% in functional class III or IV) followed up for a median duration of 53 months (range, 1 to 84 months), 22 had initial cardiac events during follow-up, including 6 cardiac deaths, 5 nonfatal myocardial infarctions, and 11 late (a median of 29 months after the exercise study) coronary revascularization procedures. At 4 years of follow-up, the overall survival was 83%. Survival free of cardiac death or myocardial infarction was 77%, and survival free of all cardiac events was 59%. Even in the absence of severe exercise-induced ischemia, medically treated patients with three-vessel coronary artery disease and normal left ventricular function still have a poor long-term outcome.
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