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Stress echocardiography: diagnostic and prognostic values and specific clinical subsets 

Stress echocardiography: diagnostic and prognostic values and specific clinical subsets
Stress echocardiography: diagnostic and prognostic values and specific clinical subsets

Luc A. Pierard

and Lauro Cortigiani

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date: 23 May 2022

Stress echocardiography is a widely used method for assessing coronary artery disease, due to its high diagnostic and prognostic value. While inducible ischaemia predicts an unfavourable outcome, its absence is associated with a low risk of future cardiac events. The method provides superior diagnostic and prognostic information than standard exercise electrocardiography and perfusion myocardial imaging in specific clinical subsets, such as women, hypertensive patients, and patients with left bundle branch block. Stress echocardiography allows effective risk assessment also in the diabetic population. The evaluation of coronary flow reserve of the left anterior descending artery by transthoracic Doppler adds diagnostic and prognostic information to that of standard stress test. Stress echocardiography is indicated in the cases when exercise electrocardiography is unfeasible, uninterpretable or gives ambiguous result, and when ischaemia during the test is frequently a false-positive response, as in hypertensive patients, women, and patients with left ventricular hypertrophy. Viability detection represents another application of stress echocardiography. The documentation of a large amount of viable myocardium predicts improved ejection fraction, reverse remodelling, and improved outcome following revascularization in patients with ischaemic cardiomyopathy. Moreover, stress echocardiography can aid significantly in clinical decision-making in patients with valvular heart disease through dynamic assessment of primary or secondary mitral regurgitation, transvalvular gradients, and pulmonary artery systolic pressure, as well as before vascular surgery due to the excellent negative predictive value. Finally, stress echocardiography allows effective risk stratification in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy through evaluation of inducible ischaemia, coronary flow reserve, and intraventricular gradient.

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