Abnormal coronary vasomotion during exercise in patients with normal coronary arteries and reduced coronary flow reserve.
A reduced coronary flow reserve has been reported in patients with ischemialike symptoms and normal coronary arteries. In 13 such patients, both coronary vasomotion and flow reserve were studied. The luminal area of the proximal and distal third of the left anterior descending and left circumflex artery were determined by biplane quantitative coronary arteriography using a computer-assisted system. Patients were studied at rest, during submaximal supine bicycle exercise (4.0 minutes, 116 W), and 5 minutes after sublingual administration of 1.6 mg nitroglycerin. Heart rate, mean pulmonary pressure, and mean aortic pressure as well as the percent change of both proximal and distal luminal area were determined. In 10 of the 13 patients, coronary sinus blood flow was measured by coronary sinus thermodilution technique at rest and after dipyridamole infusion (0.5 mg/kg in 15 minutes) 10 +/- 5 days after quantitative coronary arteriography. Coronary flow ratio (dipyridamole/rest) and coronary resistance ratio (rest/dipyridamole) were determined in these patients. Patients were divided into two groups according to the behavior of the coronary vessels during exercise (vasodilation, group 1; vasoconstriction, group 2). Coronary vasodilation of the proximal (luminal area +26%, p less than 0.001) and distal (+45%, p less than 0.001) artery was observed in seven patients (group 1) during exercise and after sublingual nitroglycerin (+46%, p less than 0.001; and +99%, p less than 0.001, respectively). In group 2 (n = 6), however, there was coronary vasoconstriction of the distal vessel segments (-24%, p less than 0.001) during exercise, whereas the proximal coronary artery showed vasodilation (+26%, p less than 0.001) during exercise. After sublingual nitroglycerin, both vessel segments elicited vasodilation (distal coronary, +44%, p less than 0.001; proximal coronary artery, +47%, p less than 0.001). Coronary flow ratio amounted to 2.5 in group 1 and 1.2 in group 2 (p less than 0.05) and coronary resistance ratio to 2.7 in group 1 and to 1.2 in group 2 (p less than 0.05), respectively. Thus, among patients with ischemialike symptoms and normal coronary arteries, there is a group of patients (group 2) with an abnormal dilator response of the distal coronary arteries to the physiologic dilator stimulus of exercise and a reduced dilator capacity of the resistance vessels after dipyridamole (abnormal coronary vasodilator syndrome). The nature of this exercise-induced distal coronary vasoconstriction is not clear but might be due to an abnormal neurohumoral tone that may cause or contribute to the blunted vascular response during exercise.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association