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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 2011 August;59(4):321-30

language: English

Routine stress testing after percutaneous coronary interventions

Patel A., Waller A. H., Rusovici A., Dhruvakumar S., Maher J., Gerula C., Haider B., Klapholz M., Kaluski E.

Division of Cardiology, University Hospital Medical Center, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA


Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is the most frequently performed cardiovascular procedure. Many physicians caring for post-PCI patients have routinely subjected patients to periodic stress testing. In the recent years, due to widespread use of drug eluting stents the combined rates of major adverse cardiac events (MACE) and in-stent restenosis (ISR) dropped <10% in the initial 12 months post-PCI, with only half of these patients bearing symptoms. This has translated into reduced pre-test probability of post-PCI ischemia. Consequently, the beneficial effect of this practice came into question. Moreover, in addition to its financial implications, routine post-PCI stress testing may carry potential harm: medication or exercise induced arrhythmia, infarction and/or death, patient irradiation exposure, false-positive tests resulting in excessive invasive testing or interventions, and the illusion of “wellness” in the face of a somewhat unpredictable disease. This review addresses the role stress testing post-PCI: it is concluded that routine stress testing in clinically stable asymptomatic post-PCI patients should be discouraged. Selective utilization of stress testing in patients with exceptionally high risk of ISR or MACE can be utilized to answer important clinical questions or guide and refine clinical care.

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