Restenosis of the dilated vessel after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty can be detected by non-invasive procedures but their ability to predict later restenosis soon after a successful angioplasty as well as recurrence of angina has not been assessed. A maximal exercise test and myocardial thallium perfusion scintigraphy were, therefore, performed in 91 asymptomatic patients a median of 5 weeks after they had undergone a technically successful angioplasty. Primary success of the procedure was confirmed by the decrease in percentage diameter stenosis from 64(12)% to 30(13)% as measured from the coronary angiograms and in the trans-stenotic pressure gradient (normalised for mean aortic pressure) from 0.61(0.16) to 0.17(0.09). A clinical follow up examination (8.6(4.9) months later) was carried out in all patients and a late coronary angiogram obtained in 77. The thallium perfusion scintigram showing the presence or absence of a reversible defect was highly predictive for restenosis whereas the exercise test was not. The positive predictive value of an abnormal scintigram was 82% compared with 60% for the exercise test (ST segment depression/or angina or both at peak workload). Angina or a new myocardial infarction occurred in 60% of patients with abnormal and in 21% of patients with normal scintigrams.
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