Frequency of provoked coronary arterial spasm in 1089 consecutive patients undergoing coronary arteriography.
We established the incidence of coronary artery spasm provoked by 0.4 mg of methergine in 1089 consecutive patients undergoing coronary angiography. The test was performed after routine coronary arteriography. Subjects included patients with angina, both typical and atypical, patients who had recently had myocardial infarction and patients with either valvular disease or congestive cardiomyopathy. Patients with spontaneous spasm, left main narrowing or severe three-vessel disease were excluded. One hundred thirty-four patients experienced focal spasm. Focal spasm was uncommon in patients with atypical precordial pain (1.2%), angina of effort (4.3%), valvular disease (1.95%) or cardiomyopathy (0%). It occurred most often in patients with angina at rest and less often in patients with angina both at rest and induced by exercise. Spasm was provoked in 20% of patients with recent transmural infarction, but in only 6.2% of patients studied later after infarction. Spasm was superimposed on fixed atherosclerotic lesions in 60% of the patients. No serious complications were encountered. Although the patients who underwent provocation tests in this study are not representative of all patients with coronary artery disease, spasm occurred in 20% of patients who experienced a coronary event and in 15% of patients who complained of chest pain.
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