A new exercise test was used to assess the effects of coronary angioplasty in 22 patients. Twenty five angioplasty procedures were performed and the exercise maximal ST segment/heart rate slope was measured before and after operation on 23 occasions; in two patients treated for unstable angina the slope was measured only after the two procedures. Successful angioplasty (23 of the 25 procedures) resulted in a significant reduction of the maximal ST/HR slope, usually falling by the equivalent of single vessel disease according to previously published criteria. When angioplasty produced little angiographic change (two of the 25 procedures) the maximal ST/HR slope was not significantly altered. A second, and successful, angioplasty for these two patients led to a significant reduction of the maximal ST/HR slope. Twelve patients were restudied by coronary angiography and exercise testing approximately six months after angioplasty. Of these, six had experienced recurrent chest pain, and the exercise test successfully identified the three who had restenoses and the three who did not. Thus the maximal ST/HR slope was useful as a non-invasive and accurate method for following the progress of individual patients after coronary angioplasty.
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