Role of dipyridamole-echocardiography test in the evaluation of coronary reserve after coronary artery bypass grafting

A. Biagini, S. Maffei, M. Baroni, M. Levantino, M. Zanobini, M. Piacenti, G. Borzoni, S. Pugliese, C. Comite, L. Salvatore

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The object of this study was to assess the usefulness of the dipyridamole-echocardiography test in the early evaluation of coronary artery bypass grafting, when the use of an exercise stress test is precluded. We studied 39 consecutive patients (37 men and two women, mean age 57.3 years) referred to our institute for elective coronary artery bypass. Five patients had single, 12 patients double, 20 patients triple vessel disease, and two had left main stem disease. Nineteen left internal mammary artery grafts, 20 sequential grafts, and 39 single vein grafts were performed. All the patients were subjected to the test before (time range 1 to 3 days) and after (time range 6 to 10 days) the operation in the absence of therapy. Dipyridamole was administered intravenously 0.56 mg/kg over 4 minutes (low dose); if no effect was apparent, an additional 0.28 mg/kg over 2 minutes (high dose) was given. During the test, blood pressure and a twelve-lead electrocardiogram were monitored. An arbitrary wall motion score was derived by dividing the left ventricle into six regions and grading from 0 to 3 - normokinetic, hypokinetic, akinetic, and dyskinetic zones. Preoperatively the test was positive in 38 patients as evidenced by wall motion abnormalities (36 patients had electrocardiographic changes) and in one patient by electrocardiographic changes and chest pain; 22 tests were positive after the low dose and 17 after the high dose. Angina was present in 33 patients. Mean wall motion score was 1.64 per patient in the basal condition and 4.03 per patient after the test (p <0.001). After coronary bypass in three patients the test was positive at the same dosage that was used preoperatively, as shown by wall motion abnormalities (in two patients by electrocardiographic changes, as well). Four patients had symptoms. Furthermore, at 6 months' follow-up, a treadmill stress test performed in these three patients was positive for ischemia and angina. The wall motion score was 1.25 per patient in the basal condition and 1.53 per patient after the test (no significant difference). When the preoperative wall motion score obtained after dipyridamole echocardiography was compared with the postoperative score, a statistically significant difference was seen: 4.03 per patient versus 1.53 per patient (p <001). In eight patients we observed an improvement of basal myocardial contractility after the operation, which indicates the reversibility of wall motion abnormalities observed before coronary bypass. In conclusion our data show that the dipyridamole-echocardiography test is a suitable method for the early assessment of bypass grafting when other methods, exercise dependent, are not indicated. This test allows the identification of patients at high risk for recurrence of ischemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-120
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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