Translated title of the contribution: Adding atropine to dipyridamole improves diagnostic accuracy of dipyridamole-echo stress test

L. Lanzarini, R. Fetiveau, M. Previtali, A. Poli, P. Diotallevi Barberis, A. Mussini, C. Montemartini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. The clinical experience with dipyridamole stress echocardiography for the diagnosis of coronary arytery disease (CAD) revealed that patients with less severe extent of CAD and limited impairment of coronary reserve are frequently not recognized by the test. Increasing myocardial oxygen consumption adding atropine to dipyridamole may improve the diagnostic accuracy of dipyridamole for the detection of CAD. Methods. Fifty-two patients (48 men, aged 53 ± 7 years) underwent a high-dose dipyridamole-echo stress test (0.84 mg/kg over 10 minutes) and coronary arteriography within 15 days from the test. Eighteen out of 52 patients were referred for chest pain; 11 suffered from a previous myocardial infarction (MI) and 23 were studied in the early phase after a first acute MI. Starting after 4 minutes from the end of dipyridamole infusion, atropine was added, in 2 doses of 0.5 mg each, at 1-minute interval in those patients with no echocardiographic evidence of myocardial ischemia after dipyridamole alone. Left ventricular wall motion was analyzed on a 11-segment left ventricular model in a qualitative manner. Results. Dipyridamole-echo stress test was positive in 23/52 (44%) and negative in 29/52 (56%) patients. In these patients atropine was added resulting in an additional echo positivity in 14/29 patients. Coronary arteriography was normal in 6 patients (12%); 1-vessel CAD was diagnosed in 23 (44%), 2-vessel CAD in 13 (25%) and 3-vessel CAD in 10 (19%) cases. The sensitivity for CAD diagnosis was 48% (22/46) for dipyridamole alone and 76% (35/46) for dipyridamole-atropine echo (p <.005), while the specificity was 83% (5/6) and 80% (4/5) respectively. Diagnostic accuracy increased from 52% (27/52) to 75% (30/52) (p <.001). The better diagnostic accuracy of dipyridamole-atropine echo stress test was mainly related to the increased sensitivity of the combined test in patients with 1-vessel CAD (from 39% to 70%) (p <.005). Peak heart rate was significantly higher after the addition of atropine (100 ± 17 beats/min) compared to basal (64 ± 10) and dipyridamole (85 ± 12) in those patients with a positive dipyridamole-atropine echo stress test. No limiting side effects were elicited with the addition of atropine to dipyridamole. Conclusions. The combination of atropine and dipyridamole induces a chronotropic stress adjunctive to flow maldistribution phenomena that permits to increase diagnostic accuracy of dipyridamole-echo stress test particularly in patients with less severe extent of CAD; it is usually well tolerated and safe and may be considered as a useful procedure for optimizing diagnostic value of dipyridamole-echo stress test.

Translated title of the contributionAdding atropine to dipyridamole improves diagnostic accuracy of dipyridamole-echo stress test
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)1093-1101
Number of pages9
JournalGiornale Italiano di Cardiologia
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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