OBJECTIVES: We sought to determine whether clinical risk stratification correlates with the angiographic extent of coronary artery disease (CAD) in patient with unstable angina. BACKGROUND: The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) guidelines stratify patients with unstable angina according to short-term risk of myocardial infarction or death. Whether these guidelines are useful in predicting the extent of CAD is unknown. METHODS: All residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, undergoing emergency department evaluation from January 1, 1985 through December 31, 1992 for unstable angina without a history of prior coronary artery bypass grafting, and who underwent early angiography (within seven days of presentation) were classified into low, intermediate and high risk subgroups based on AHCPR criteria. RESULTS: Seven hundred ninety-five patients underwent early angiography: 159 high risk, 572 intermediate risk and 64 low risk patients. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that low risk patients had a greater likelihood of normal or mild CAD relative to intermediate risk (odds ratio [OR], 4.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.70-8.06; p < 0.001) and high risk (OR, 11.1; 95% CI, 5.71-22.2; p < 0.001). Significant 1-, 2-, 3-vessel coronary disease or left main coronary disease was more likely in high relative to low risk (OR, 8.09; 95% CI, 4.22-15.5; p < 0.001), intermediate relative to low risk (OR, 4.11; 95% CI, 2.34-7.22; p < 0.001), and high relative to intermediate risk (OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.31-2.96; p = 0.0012). CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with unstable angina undergoing early coronary angiography, risk stratification according to the AHCPR guidelines correlates with the angiographic extent of CAD.
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