Airway hyperresponsiveness in patients with microvascular angina. Evidence for a diffuse disorder of smooth muscle responsiveness.
Anginal chest pain in patients with angiographically normal coronary arteries may be caused by a limited coronary flow response to stress because of abnormal function of the coronary microcirculation (microvascular angina). Studies of forearm arterial function suggested that patients with microvascular angina may have a diffuse disorder of smooth muscle tone. Because dyspnea is common in these patients and seems disproportionate to the severity of myocardial ischemia, we studied air flow (forced expiratory volume in 1 second, or FEV1) in the basal state and after methacholine inhalation to determine whether bronchial smooth muscle is affected in this syndrome. Five of 36 patients with microvascular angina had a basal FEV1 of less than 70% of that predicted and did not receive methacholine. Of the remaining 31 patients, 14 (45%) had a more-than-20% reduction in FEV1 after methacholine inhalation (as much as 25 mg/ml), a response significantly greater than that of nine patients with heart disease (0%, p less than 0.025) and 24 normal volunteers of similar age and gender distribution (13%, p less than 0.025). Furthermore, the product of the methacholine dose inhaled and the magnitude of decline in FEV1 from baseline (methacholine response score) was significantly lower in patients with microvascular angina than in normal volunteers (16 +/- 8.6 versus 22.2 +/- 3.7, p = 0.026). We conclude that airway hyperresponsiveness is frequently demonstrable in patients with microvascular angina; these findings are consistent with our hypothesis that this syndrome may represent a more generalized abnormality of vascular and nonvascular smooth muscle function.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association