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Myocardial ischemia due to coronary artery spasm during dobutamine stress echocardiography

      Abstract

      Dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) is a useful and safe provocation test for myocardial ischemia. Until now, the test has been focused only on the organic lesion in the coronary artery, and positive DSE has indicated the presence of significant fixed coronary artery stenosis. The aim of the present study is to examine whether myocardial ischemia due to coronary spasm is induced by dobutamine. We performed DSE on 51 patients with coronary spastic angina but without significant fixed coronary artery stenosis. All patients had anginal attacks at rest with ST elevation on the electrocardiogram (variant angina). Coronary spasm was induced by intracoronary injection of acetylcholine, and no fixed coronary artery stenosis was documented on angiograms in all patients. DSE was performed with intravenous dobutamine infusion with an incremental doses of 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 μg/kg/min every 5 minutes. Of the 51 patients, 7 patients showed asynergy with ST elevation. All 7 patients (13.7%) had chest pain during asynergy, and both chest pain and electrocardiographic changes were preceded by asynergy. These findings indicate that dobutamine can provoke coronary spasm in some patients with coronary spastic angina. When DSE is performed to evaluate coronary artery disease, not only fixed coronary stenosis, but also coronary spasm should be considered as a genesis of asynergy.
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