It is suggested that the integration of maximal myocardial blood flow (MBF) and coronary flow reserve (CFR), termed coronary flow capacity, allows for comprehensive evaluation of patients with known or suspected stable coronary artery disease. Because management decisions are predicated on clinical risk, we sought to determine the independent and integrated value of maximal MBF and CFR for predicting cardiovascular death.Methods:
MBF and CFR were quantified in 4029 consecutive patients (median age 66 years, 50.5% women) referred for rest/stress myocardial perfusion positron emission tomography scans from January 2006 to December 2013. The primary outcome was cardiovascular mortality. Maximal MBF <1.8 mL·g−1·min−1 and CFR<2 were considered impaired. Four patient groups were identified based on the concordant or discordant impairment of maximal MBF or CFR. Association of maximal MBF and CFR with cardiovascular death was assessed using Cox and Poisson regression analyses.Results:
A total of 392 (9.7%) cardiovascular deaths occurred over a median follow-up of 5.6 years. CFR was a stronger predictor of cardiovascular mortality than maximal MBF beyond traditional cardiovascular risk factors, left ventricular ejection fraction, myocardial scar and ischemia, rate-pressure product, type of radiotracer or stress agent used, and revascularization after scan (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38–2.31; P<0.001 per unit decrease in CFR after adjustment for maximal MBF and clinical covariates; and adjusted hazard ratio, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.84–1.27; P=0.8 per unit decrease in maximal MBF after adjustment for CFR and clinical covariates). In univariable analyses, patients with concordant impairment of CFR and maximal MBF had high cardiovascular mortality of 3.3% (95% CI, 2.9–3.7) per year. Patients with impaired CFR but preserved maximal MBF had an intermediate cardiovascular mortality of 1.7% (95% CI, 1.3–2.1) per year. These patients were predominantly women (70%). Patients with preserved CFR but impaired maximal MBF had low cardiovascular mortality of 0.9% (95% CI, 0.6–1.6) per year. Patients with concordantly preserved CFR and maximal MBF had the lowest cardiovascular mortality of 0.4% (95 CI, 0.3–0.6) per year. In multivariable analysis, the cardiovascular mortality risk gradient across the 4 concordant or discordant categories was independently driven by impaired CFR irrespective of impairment in maximal MBF.Conclusions:
CFR is a stronger predictor of cardiovascular mortality than maximal MBF. Concordant and discordant categories based on integrating CFR and maximal MBF identify unique prognostic phenotypes of patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease.