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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2005 June;53(3):195-210

language: English

Stress echocardiography

''Picano E.''


Stress echocardiography is the combination of 2D echocardiography with a physical, pharmacological or electrical stress. The diagnostic end point for the detection of myocardial ischemia is the induction of a transient worsening in regional function during stress. Stress echocardiography provides similar diagnostic and prognostic accuracy as ra-dionuclide stress perfusion imaging, but at a substantially lower cost, without environmental impact, and with no biohazards for the patient and the physician. Among different stresses of comparable diagnostic and prognostic accuracy, semisupine exercise is the most used, dobutamine the best test for viability, and dipyridamole the safest and simplest pharmacological stress. The additional clinical benefit of myocardial contrast echo-cardiography, tissue Doppler imaging and real time 3-D echocardiography has been inconsistent and disappointing, whereas the potential of adding coronary flow reserve evaluation of left anterior descending coronary artery by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography adds another important dimension to stress echocardiography. In spite of its dependence upon operator's training, stress echocardiography is today the best possible imaging choice to achieve the still elusive target of sustainable cardiac imaging in the field of noninvasive diagnosis of coronary artery disease.

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