Impaired left ventricular function and extensive coronary artery disease are important determinants of prognosis after acute myocardial infarction. The ability of clinical and predischarge submaximal exercise test variables to predict multivessel coronary artery disease and impaired left ventricular function was assessed in 62 survivors of acute myocardial infarction. Abnormal exercise blood pressure response and short exercise performance were predictors of multivessel disease, but exercise induced ST segment changes and clinical variables were not. Q wave infarction, high grade Killip classification, and exercise induced ST segment elevation predicted statistically significant impairment of resting left ventricular function, whereas other clinical and exercise test variables did not. Exercise induced ST segment changes were therefore of little value in detecting extensive coronary disease, although exercise induced ST elevation was an indicator of poor resting left ventricular function. Although abnormal exercise haemodynamics may detect extensive coronary artery disease, other physiological markers of reversible myocardial ischaemia are probably necessary to plan optimal management in these patients.
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