Studies were made of the feasibility and value of two dimensional echocardiography in detecting left ventricular asynergy during handgrip exercise in 45 patients with suspected coronary artery disease. Resting echocardiography revealed normal wall motion in 32 patients, and in 17 of these handgrip exercise induced abnormal wall motion. All 17 patients had significant stenoses in the coronary arteries. However, only 65 percent of patients with coronary artery disease whose resting two dimensional echocardiogram revealed normal wall motion showed abnormal wall motion during handgrip exercise. The left ventricular wall visualized in the short axis plane was divided into 5 segments, and a total of 225 segments were analyzed. Of 49 segments with exercise-induced asynergy, 46 (94 percent) reflected significant stenosis in the perfusing coronary artery. In particular, 16 (89 percent) of 18 segments with exercise-induced akinesia reflected stenosis of greater than 90 percent. Resting or exercise two dimensional echocardiography (or both) was able to diagnose multivessel disease with a predictability of 92 percent. It is concluded that two dimensional echocardiography combined with handgrip exercise has high specificity in detecting coronary artery disease and would be useful for predicting severely stenotic or multivessel coronary arterial lesions.
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