Purpose: This study evaluated the value of preoperative cardiac screening with dipyridamole thallium scintigraphy and radionuclide ventriculography in vascular surgery patients. Methods: From July 1, 1989, to Dec. 31, 1991, we routinely (irrespective of the patient's cardiac history or symptomatology) performed dipyridamole thallium scintigraphy (DTS) and radionuclide ventriculography (RVG) in 394 patients being considered for an elective vascular operation. Patients with reversible defects on DTS underwent coronary arteriography. Results: DTS results were normal in 146 patients (37%), showed a fixed defect in 75 (19%), and showed a reversible defect in 173 (44%). Patients with and without a history of angina or myocardial infarction had identical rates of reversible defects. Normal left ventricular function (>50%) was noted in 76% of the patients; 17% had moderate dysfunction (35% to 50%) and 7% had a low ejection fraction (<35%). The finding of severe coronary artery, disease led to cardiac revascularization in 17 patients who had no prior history of cardiac disease and in 13 patients with a history of angina or myocardial infarction. Two deaths and nine major complications were associated with coronary arteriography and cardiac revascularization. Vascular procedures (144 aortic, 53 carotid, 146 infrainguinal) were ultimately performed in 343 patients, with a mortality rate of 1.7% (3.5% aortic, 0% carotid, and 0.7% infrainguinal bypass). The nonfatal perioperative myocardial infarction rate was 2.0%. We monitored all 394 patients for cardiovascular events, with a mean follow-up of 40 months. Patients who underwent cardiac revascularization had a 4-year survival rate of 75%, which was similar to those with a normal DTS. Late cardiac events were significantly more frequent in patients who had either a reversible DTS or RVG <35%. Conclusions: Routine cardiac screening of vascular surgery patients had similar impact on patients irrespective of their prior history or current symptoms suggesting coronary artery disease. Routine screening did not result in substantial benefit. Screening studies such as DTS or RVG may be most useful as part of an overall risk versus benefit assessment in patients without active symptoms of coronary artery disease who have less compelling indications for vascular intervention (claudication, moderate sized aortic aneurysms, or asymptomatic carotid disease).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine