Transesophageal Atrial Pacing during Echocardiography Exams

Comparison of the diagnostic potential of four echocardiographic stress tests shortly after acute myocardial infarction: submaximal exercise, transesophageal atrial pacing, dipyridamole, and dobutamine-atropine.

Schroder K, Voller H, Dingerkus H, Munzberg H, Dissmann R, Linderer T, Schultheiss HP. Free University of Berlin, Germany. Am J Cardiol 1996 May 1;77(11):909-14. This study assessed and compared the diagnostic potential of submaximal exercise, transesophageal atrial pacing, dipyridamole, and dobutamine-atropine stress echocardiography tests shortly after acute myocardial infarction. In 121 study patients, 325 digital echocardiographic stress tests were attempted 10 to 11 days after acute myocardial infarction: 83 submaximal exercise tests, 121 high-dose dipyridamole echocardiography tests (DET), 69 transesophageal atrial pacing tests (< 150 beats/min), and 52 dobutamine tests, starting at 10 microgram/kg per minute, increasing stepwise to 40 microgram kg/min, and coadministering atropine in 12 patients (dobutamine-atropine stress echocardiography [DASE]). Results were correlated to a coronary artery diameter stenosis > or = 50% as determined by quantitative angiography. Feasibility to perform submaximal exercise echocardiography, atrial pacing echocardiography, DET, and DASE was 89%, 52%, 98%, and 88%, respectively. Atrial pacing was not tolerated by 18 patients and refused by 6 (9%). Severe but not life-threatening side effects were hypotension in DET (2%) and tachyarrhythmias in DASE (6%). Test positivity in multivessel disease with submaximal exercise, DET, and DASE was 55%, 93%, and 90%, respectively, and in 1-vessel disease 47%, 65%, 71%, and for atrial pacing, 82%, respectively. We conclude that submaximal exercise has limited sensitivity and atrial pacing limited feasibility. The pharmacologic stressors provide a useful, safe diagnostic approach: DET with slightly lower sensitivity in 1-vessel disease and DASE with insignificantly less feasibility.

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