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The natural history of aneurysmal coronary artery disease.
  1. V. P. Demopoulos,
  2. C. D. Olympios,
  3. C. N. Fakiolas,
  4. E. G. Pissimissis,
  5. N. M. Economides,
  6. E. Adamopoulou,
  7. S. G. Foussas,
  8. D. V. Cokkinos
  1. Department of Cardiology, Tzanio State Hospital, Pireus, Greece.


    OBJECTIVE: To assess the contribution of coronary artery ectasia, either isolated or in association with obstructive coronary artery disease, to morbidity and mortality from ischaemic heart disease. DESIGN: A retrospective study of patients undergoing coronary arteriography at a tertiary cardiac centre. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The epidemiological, clinical, arteriographic, and follow up characteristics of three groups of patients were examined: group A, 172 patients with coronary artery ectasia and coexisting significant coronary artery disease; group B, 31 patients with coronary artery ectasia only; group C, 165 patients with significant coronary artery disease but without ectasia, matched for sex and age with group A. RESULTS: Group A patients had a similar incidence of a previous myocardial infarction to group C patients (61.6% v 64.2%), exercise performance, severity of obstructive lesions (CASS score 2.19 v 2.14), and similar distribution of diseased vessels. At follow up of approximately two years they experienced a similar incidence of unstable angina (7.5% v 4.4%) and myocardial infarction plus cardiac death (4.9% v 6.1%). They underwent bypass surgery with similar frequency (39% v 42%) but there was a lower frequency of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (5.8% v 17%, P < 0.01). Patients with pure coronary ectasia (group B) had a lower incidence of a previous myocardial infarction (38.7%, 12/31, P < 0.05) than the two other groups. The infarct in all cases was related to an ectatic artery. Their exercise performance and ejection fraction (9 (SD 3) minutes and 56.5(9)%) were higher (P < 0.01) than group A (5 (2) minutes, 48.3(10)%) and group C (5.3 (2) minutes, 49.3(10)%). Group B had no myocardial infarctions, cardiac death, surgery, or intervention at follow up; 4.4% (5/115) developed unstable angina. The incidence of angina at study entry was similar in all three groups (38.7-49.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Coronary artery ectasia does not confer added risk in patients with coexisting obstructive coronary artery disease. Although there is a measurable incidence of previous myocardial infarction, patients with pure ectasia have a good prognosis. The wisdom of giving oral anticoagulants to such patients is questioned.

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