Endothelial dysfunction (ED) is frequently present in patients presenting with acute or stable coronary artery disease (CAD), but it is also found in patients presenting with chest pain without angiographic coronary lesions.
We hypothesized that even in patients without CAD, the presence of cardiovascular (CV) risk factors will correlate with the presence of ED.
Our study included a total of 341 consecutive patients referred for coronary angiography. We used pulse wave analysis with a finger plethysmograph (peripheral arterial tonometry) to determine endothelial function. Hyperemia ratio was calculated as the ratio of the postischemic hyperemia response relative to baseline measurement.
The hyperemia ratio was significantly higher in patients without CAD (2.02 ± 0.52) compared with patients with chronic CAD (1.81 ± 0.44, P = 0.001) or acute CAD (1.74 ± 0.49, P < 0.001). Prevalence of ED was 33%, 46%, and 58%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, the presence of CAD, diabetes, and cigarette smoking, and the total number of CV risk factors, were strong predictors of ED. In 67% of the patients without CAD but with ≥3 CV risk factors, ED was present.
Prevalence of ED in patients with chest pain depends on the presence of CAD and CV risk factors. Patients without CAD but with ≥3 risk factors frequently presented with ED. Such patients may be at increased risk for future CV events and may profit from intensified therapy to control CV risk factors.
The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.
This study was supported by the Swiss Heart Foundation, Bern, Switzerland, and the Kamillo Eisner Foundation, Hergiswil, Switzerland. Stefan Toggweiler was supported by a grant from the Swiss National Foundation. None of the granting institutions had any influence on the study design, data collection, analysis, or interpretation.