Identification of severe coronary artery disease in patients with a single abnormal coronary territory on exercise thallium-201 imaging: The importance of clinical and exercise variables

Jennifer M.F. Kwok, Timothy F. Christian, Todd D. Miller, David O. Hodge, Raymond J. Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine which clinical, exercise and thallium variables can aid in the identification of three-vessel or left main coronary artery disease (3VLMD) in patients with one abnormal coronary territory (either a reversible or fixed defect) on exercise thallium testing and to test the prognostic value of these variables. BACKGROUND: Although the sensitivity of detection of coronary artery disease by thallium- 201 imaging is high, the actual detection of 3VLMD by thallium tomographic images alone is not optimal. METHODS: A multivariate model for prediction of 3VLMD was developed from several clinical, exercise and thallium-201 variables in a training population of 264 patients who had one abnormal coronary artery territory on exercise thallium testing and had undergone coronary angiography. Using this model, patients were stratified into risk groups for prediction of 3VLMD. A separate validation cohort of 474 consecutive patients who were treated initially with medical therapy and who had one abnormal coronary territory were divided into identical risk groupings by the variables derived from the training population, and they were followed for a median of 7.0 years to evaluate the prognostic value of this model. RESULTS: The prevalence of 3VLMD was 26% in the training population despite one abnormal thallium coronary territory. Four clinical and exercise variables-diabetes, hypertension, magnitude of ST segment depression, and exercise rate-pressure product-were found to be independent predictors of 3VLMD. In the training population, the prevalence of 3VLMD in low-, intermediate- and high-risk groups was 15%, 22% and 51%, respectively. When the multivariate model was applied to the validation population, the eight-year overall survival rates in the low-, intermediate- and high-risk groups were 89%, 73% and 75%, respectively (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: A substantial proportion of patients with one abnormal thallium coronary territory have 3VLMD with subsequent divergent outcomes based upon risk stratification by clinical and exercise variables. Consequently, the finding of only a single abnormal coronary territory by thallium-201 perfusion imaging does not necessarily confer a benign prognosis in the absence of consideration of nonimaging variables. (C) 2000 by the American College of Cardiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-344
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 13 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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