Background: Clinical characteristics and outcome of patients with variant angina were assessed in the 1970-1980s of the past Century. The recent progress in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease may have significantly modified clinical characteristics and prognosis of these patients. Methods: From January 1991 to December 2002, 202 patients (57.1 ± 12 years; 166 men) were diagnosed to have variant angina at our Institute. Detailed clinical findings and clinical events were prospectively collected for each patient. Results: The median time from the first angina attack to diagnosis was 2 months (range 1-276), with diagnosis requiring > 6 months in 31.7% of patients. Coronary angiography (n = 183) showed normal coronary arteries in 42.1% of patients and significant coronary stenoses (> 50%) in 44.3%, with multi-vessel disease in 8.7%. Diagnosis of variant angina was done during coronary angiography in 3% of cases during the first half of the study period, but in 42% of patients in the second half of the study period. Major cardiac events (MCE, i.e., death, resuscitation from cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction) occurred in 41 patients (20.3%), with 43.9% of events occurring within 1 month of symptom onset. The only variable significantly associated with MCE was the detection during angina of ST segment elevation in both anterior and inferior ECG leads (odds ratio 3.24; 95% confidence interval 1.43-7.36; P = 0.005). Conclusion: Our data suggest that variant angina is still a frequently overlooked diagnosis, and a timely diagnosis would be crucial to prevent early life-threatening events. Patients with diffuse ST segment elevation on ECG are those at the highest risk of MCE, independently of angiographic findings.
- Diagnostic assessment
- Prognostic determinant
- Variant angina
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine