Relations between heart rate, ischemia, and drug therapy during daily life in patients with coronary artery disease.
BACKGROUND Previous studies have shown that little if any increase in heart rate occurs 1 minute before the onset of ischemia in ambulant patients with coronary artery disease. This study tested the hypothesis that there are characteristic relations between heart rate and ischemia in ambulant patients with coronary artery disease.
METHODS AND RESULTS Twenty-one patients with proven coronary disease demonstrated 212 episodes of ischemia during 504 hours of continuous monitoring of the electrocardiogram. An important increase in heart rate (from 74 +/- 11 to 90 +/- 14 beats/min, p less than 0.001) occurred between 5 and 30 minutes (not 1 minute) before the onset of ischemia. A significantly higher heart rate at onset of ischemia was seen during Bruce protocol exercise testing than during daily life (117 +/- 12 versus 95 +/- 15 beats/min, p less than 0.01). However, when a less-strenuous, but more prolonged, exercise protocol was used in a subgroup of patients (n = 12), ischemia occurred at a heart rate that was significantly lower than during the Bruce protocol (88 +/- 14 versus 103 +/- 15 beats/min, p less than 0.05) and was not significantly different from the threshold heart rate at onset of ischemia during daily life (88 +/- 14 versus 84 +/- 12 beats/min, p = NS). As part of two placebo-controlled trials, treatment with both propranolol and nitroglycerin altered the distribution of ischemic events by heart rate but in opposite directions. Although propranolol largely eliminated events occurring at high (greater than 100 beats/min) and moderate (80-100 beats/min) heart rates, the number of events at low (less than 80 beats/min) heart rates was increased. In contrast, nitroglycerin reduced episodes at low and moderate heart rates only.
CONCLUSIONS Important increases in heart rate occur before the onset of ischemia during daily life, but this increase occurs much earlier than has been reported. Duration of heart rate increase appears to influence the heart rate threshold for ischemia, and this may contribute to the occurrence of ischemia at lower heart rates during daily life than during standard exercise testing. Last, different classes of drugs appear to have characteristic effects on ischemia occurring at different heart rates that may be useful in planning therapy.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association