Objective: To evaluate the use of stress testing in a community population with de novo stable chest pain, a normal resting electrocardiogram (ECG), and the ability to exercise. Patients and Methods: We identified eligible patients by searching the electronic medical record of all outpatients seen at Mayo Clinic Rochester from January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2013. We determined the frequency of initial exercise stress testing, computed tomography coronary angiography, and invasive coronary angiography, as well as the use of subsequent second procedures (including percutaneous coronary intervention [PCI] and coronary artery bypass grafting) within 90 days. Patients were followed for 5 years for death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and hospitalization for unstable angina. Results: The data search identified 1175 patients with chest pain and normal resting ECGs. Only 331 patients underwent cardiac testing. A slight majority (185; 55.9%) underwent an exercise ECG alone. The remainder underwent exercise echocardiography (112; 33.8%), exercise single-photon–emission computed tomography (32; 9.7%), or computed tomography coronary angiography (2; 0.9%). Few patients (30; 9.1%) required additional testing within 90 days. Of the 14 patients (4.2%) who underwent invasive coronary angiography, 12 (85.7%) had significant coronary artery disease, and were referred for percutaneous coronary intervention or coronary artery bypass grafting. At 5 years, the mortality rate was 1.2%, and the combined event rate was 3.8%. Conclusion: Most community patients with chest pain and a normal resting ECG do not require further cardiac evaluation. In patients who require testing, and are able to exercise, noninvasive stress testing is preferred. Invasive coronary angiography is applied selectively and associated with a high rate of significant coronary artery disease and referral to coronary revascularization. Long-term outcomes are excellent.
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