Use of stress testing prior to percutaneous coronary intervention in patients with stable coronary artery disease

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The majority of percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) are carried out in nonurgent situations, primarily in patients with stable coronary artery disease. Recent trials have concluded that for patients with stable coronary artery disease, treatment with optimal medical therapy versus optimal medical therapy plus PCI yields equivalent outcomes in terms of morbidity and future risk of myocardial infarction. Since PCI is a procedure with risk, it is important to identify patients for whom the benefit of the procedure outweighs the harms. PCI may be beneficial in certain subgroups, such as patients with moderate-to-severe ischemia on noninvasive testing. Although current guidelines require documentation of ischemia prior to elective PCI and this strategy is cost effective, pre-PCI stress testing appears to be underutilized, potentially leading to PCI being performed in patients who may not derive benefit from the procedure.

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