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Coronary artery disease
Do patients with angina alone have a more benign prognosis than patients with a history of acute myocardial infarction, revascularisation or both? Findings from a community cohort study
  1. B Buckley,
  2. A W Murphy
  1. Department of General Practice, Clinical Sciences Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  1. Dr B Buckley, Department of General Practice, Clinical Sciences Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland; bsbuckley{at}


Aim: To compare prognosis for patients with a diagnosis of angina alone to patients postacute myocardial infarction (AMI) and/or revascularisation and/or angina.

Design: Community-based retrospective cohort study.

Setting: A random selection of 37 Irish general practices.

Participants: 1,609 adults with ischaemic heart disease (IHD) identified in 2000/1.

Intervention: Medical records searches and postal questionnaires in 2000/1 and 2005/6.

Outcome measures: Primary: all-cause and IHD-related mortality. Secondary: acute myocardial infarction (AMI), cardiac artery bypass grafting (CABG) and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA); physical and mental health status as measured by SF36 and SF12; process of care measurements and behavioural risk factor outcomes.

Results: Compared with patients with previous AMI and/or revascularisation, patients with angina alone had slightly lower risks of all-cause and IHD-related death: however, although hazard ratios of 0.73 (95% CI 0.55 to 0.98) and 0.65 (95% CI 0.44 to 0.98), respectively, were significant at the p<0.05 level, they were not significant at the p<0.01 level currently suggested as appropriate in observational research. Proportional hazards models identified no statistically significant differences in adjusted risks of subsequent AMI, CABG or PTCA between patients with angina-alone and those with other IHD. Over the 4.5-year follow-up, physical functioning was consistently lower among those with angina alone, and the extent to which physical functioning was increasingly impaired was slightly greater.

Conclusions: Prognosis to death or cardiac outcomes for patients with angina alone was similar to those with previous AMI and/or revascularisation, while health status was poorer. The clinical importance of angina should not be underestimated in primary care. Further descriptive research is needed among representative community cohorts of people with angina.

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  • See Editorial, p 439

  • Funding: Both baseline and follow-up studies have been funded by the Health Research Board, Dublin and the Health Services Executive (Western Area).

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was provided by the Irish College of General Practitioners.

  • Patient consent: Obtained.

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