Twenty-four patients with Prinzmetal's variant angina showing a favorable initial response to calcium antagonist treatment were studied to assess the evolution of the disease and the frequency and time course of spontaneous remission. At 3, 6 and 12 months from the acute phase, patients underwent in-hospital control studies, with 48-hour Holter monitoring and ergonovine testing carried out during treatment and after its interruption. During calcium antagonist therapy complete protection from spontaneous attacks was documented in 22 of 24 patients at 3 months, in 19 of 21 at 6 months and in all 21 at 12 months; ergonovine test results were negative in 16 of 23 patients at 3 months, in 16 of 20 at 6 months and in all 20 studied at 12 months. After stopping treatment spontaneous attacks did not reappear in 7 of 24 patients (29%), 14 of 21 (66%) and 16 of 21 (76%) at 3, 6 and 12 months respectively, while the ergonovine test response remained negative in 6 of 21 (28%), 7 of 18 (39%) and 13 of 20 (65%) of the patients controlled at 3, 6 and 12 months. Thus, complete remission of angina documented by both Holter recording and ergonovine testing occurred in 5 of 24 patients (21%) at 3 months, in 7 of 21 (33%) at 6 months and in 12 of 21 (57%) at 12 months. Patients with remission of angina had a shorter duration of symptoms and more often showed normal or not critically diseased coronary arteries. Nine of the 10 patients in whom treatment was discontinued after complete remission of angina was documented at the 12-month follow-up remained symptom-free at a mean follow-up of 12 months. Thus, spontaneous remission of variant angina in patients with a good initial response to calcium antagonist drugs is a frequent event that usually occurs 6 to 12 months after the acute phase; on the basis of these findings treatment may be discontinued in selected patients with repeat documented spontaneous remission of ischemic attacks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine