The prevalence of transient myocardial ischaemia after myocardial infarction seems to be lower than in other subgroups with coronary artery disease. In postinfarction patients, however, a greater proportion of ischaemic episodes are silent. At present there is substantial evidence that transient ischaemia provides prognostic information in different subsets of patients with previous myocardial infarction, but there is considerable disagreement about how this is expressed in terms of cardiac events. Small patient numbers, patient selection, and different timing of ambulatory monitoring are proposed as important reasons for the inconsistent findings. The precise role of ambulatory ST segment monitoring in clinical practice has yet to be established. Direct comparisons with exercise stress testing may not be appropriate for two reasons. Firstly, the main advantage of ambulatory monitoring may be that it can be performed early after infarction at the time of maximum risk. Secondly, it can be performed in most patients after infarction, including those recognised as being at high risk who are unable to perform an exercise stress test.
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