Heart Test Can Predict Mortality

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By: Jan Chait

Stress echocardiography, which can detect abnormalities in the wall of the heart during exercise, can predict mortality in people who have diabetes as well as either known or suspected coronary artery disease.

Researchers, who studied 937 people with diabetes at the Cleveland Clinic, Indiana University and Asheville Cardiology Associates over a period of nine years, say the test is used to determine whether blood flow to the heart is insufficient, a condition usually caused by a blocked artery.

The researchers add that death rates were higher for people who needed to have the test done while the heart was being stressed by medications rather than by walking on a treadmill, probably because those people were unable to exercise.

The researchers who conducted this observational study suggest a subsequent study to determine whether high-risk patients identified by stress echocardiography can benefit from procedures such as angioplasty or intensive medical intervention.

Diabetes Care, June 2002

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