Relation of exercise-induced myocardial ischemia to cardiac and carotid structure
Ventricular Function, Left
There is a strong relation of carotid atherosclerosis to coronary artery disease and left ventricular hypertrophy. In addition, abnormalities of carotid structure are strongly associated with abnormal left ventricular geometry and structure. However, little is known regarding the relation of exercise-induced ST depression to carotid atherosclerosis, carotid, or left ventricular structure in the absence of apparent coronary disease. The relationship of exercise ECG myocardial ischemia to the presence of carotid atherosclerosis and to carotid and left ventricular structure was assessed in 204 asymptomatic subjects free of clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease. Myocardial ischemia on the exercise ECG, defined by a chronotropically adjusted ST/HR slope of >3.47 microV/bpm, was associated with a nearly threefold greater likelihood of discrete carotid atherosclerosis (50% [6 of 12] versus 17% [29 of 192], P=.007) and with older age, male sex, higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures, greater left ventricular mass and mass index, and greater common carotid artery intimal-medial thickness and cross-sectional area index. Stepwise logistic regression analyses, including standard risk factors, revealed that only carotid artery cross-sectional area index (P=.0007) and systolic blood pressure (P=.005) independently predicted an abnormal chronotropically adjusted ST/heart rate slope. Moreover, among 132 subjects with > or = 10 microV of ST-segment depression, only left ventricular mass index and carotid artery cross-sectional area index were significant predictors of the chronotropically adjusted ST/heart rate slope response. Subendocardial ischemia on the exercise ECG is strongly associated with the presence of carotid atherosclerosis and is related to systolic blood pressure, carotid artery cross-sectional area index, and left ventricular mass index, independent of age, sex, and other cardiac risk factors. These findings provide additional insights into the relation between coronary and carotid atherosclerosis and suggest that an association among ischemia and left ventricular and carotid structural abnormalities may contribute to the pathogenesis of coronary events.