Post-myocardial infarction exercise testing. Non-Q wave versus Q wave correlation with coronary angiography and long-term prognosis.
BACKGROUND The presence or absence of baseline diagnostic Q waves has been believed to compromise the accuracy of standard exercise electrocardiography in identifying severe coronary artery disease (three-vessel and/or left main disease); therefore, a retrospective analysis was performed using a personal computer data base of exercise test responses and cardiac catheterization results to evaluate this premise, and follow-up was performed to observe how Q waves and/or severe coronary disease impacted on survival.
METHODS AND RESULTS Two hundred fifty-three male patients who had survived a myocardial infarction were studied. Patients on digitalis, those with left bundle branch block or left ventricular hypertrophy on their baseline electrocardiogram, those with previous revascularization procedures, and those with significant valvular or congenital heart disease were excluded. All patients performed either a low-level predischarge or a sign/symptom limited exercise test and underwent diagnostic coronary angiography within 32 days of each test (range, 0-90 days). Long-term follow-up on patients was performed for an average of 45 months (+/- 17 months). Group NQMI comprised 103 post-myocardial infarction patients lacking Q waves at the time of exercise testing and group QMI comprised 150 patients who developed Q waves with their myocardial infarction. The cut points of greater than or equal to 1 mm (chi 2 = 14.39, p less than 0.001) and greater than or equal to 2 mm (chi 2 = 26.11, p less than 0.001) of exercise-induced ST segment depression were reliable markers of severe coronary disease in Q wave infarct survivors. This was also true for non-Q wave infarct survivors as greater than or equal to 1 mm (chi 2 = 6.02, p = 0.01) and greater than or equal to 2 mm (chi 2 = 4.37, p = 0.04) of ST segment depression were reliable markers of severe coronary disease. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed that exercise-induced ST segment depression had discriminating power for the identification of severe coronary artery disease in both the Q wave myocardial infarction patients (area = 0.735, z = 4.47, p less than 0.001) and the non-Q wave infarct patients (area = 0.700, z = 3.20, p less than 0.001). After 4.4 years of cumulative follow-up, patients with severe coronary disease had an infarct-free survival rate of 72% (95%, CI, 50.0-86.0%), whereas those without severe disease had an 86% (95% CI, 76.5-91.5%) infarct-free survival rate (Cox chi 2 = 4.00, p = 0.045). Non-Q wave patients had an infarct-free survival rate of 81% (95% CI, 66.0-89.5%), whereas those with Q waves had an infarct-free survival rate of 85% (95% CI, 73.9-91.3%) (Cox chi 2 = 0.0005, p = NS).
CONCLUSIONS The presence or absence of diagnostic Q waves has no significant effect on the ability of the exercise electrocardiogram to identify severe coronary artery disease in survivors of myocardial infarction. Long-term infarct-free survival of patients with myocardial infarction is more related to the presence of severe coronary disease rather than if they suffered a non-Q wave or Q wave infarction.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association