Ambulatory pulmonary artery pressure monitoring by means of a transducer tipped catheter with a simultaneous frequency modulated electrocardiogram and a miniaturised tape recorder was used to study the haemodynamic implications of ST segment depression in patients with coronary artery disease. Nineteen male patients (mean (SD) age 58 (11) years) with clinical and angiographic evidence of coronary artery disease were studied together with six controls. Changes in the ST segment and pulmonary artery diastolic pressure during treadmill exercise, atrial pacing, and unrestricted ambulant activity were analysed. During exercise, pulmonary artery diastolic pressure rose significantly in patients with coronary artery disease but not in the controls. One patient with ST depression greater than 1 mm did not have a rise in pulmonary artery diastolic pressure on exercise; two had a rise in pulmonary artery diastolic pressure with no ST segment change despite severe angina. The pulmonary artery diastolic pressure tended to rise before or simultaneously with the onset of ST segment depression. The haemodynamic response to atrial pacing was similar in normal controls and patients with coronary artery disease. During ambulatory monitoring there were 29 episodes of ST segment depression all of which were associated with a rise in pulmonary artery diastolic pressure and chest pain. The onset of ST segment depression occurred before a rise in pulmonary artery diastolic pressure in 11 episodes, was simultaneous with it in 11, and followed it in seven episodes. During exercise and ambulatory monitoring there was a correlation between the magnitude of ST segment depression and the rise in pulmonary artery diastolic pressure. Pain was a late feature during exercise, atrial pacing, and anginal episodes. This technique for the first time allows the relation between ST segment changes and haemodynamic alterations in left ventricular function to be assessed in ambulant patients with coronary artery disease.
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