Head-to-Head Comparison of Peak Supine Bicycle Exercise Echocardiography and Treadmill Exercise Echocardiography at Peak and at Post-Exercise for the Detection of Coronary Artery Disease

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Supine bicycle exercise (SBE) echocardiography and treadmill exercise (TME) echocardiography have been used for evaluation of coronary artery disease (CAD). Although peak imaging acquisition has been considered unfeasible with TME, higher sensitivity for the detection of CAD has been recently found with this method compared with post-TME echocardiography. However, peak TME echocardiography has not been previously compared with the more standardized peak SBE echocardiography. The aim of this study was to compare peak TME echocardiography, peak SBE echocardiography, and post-TME echocardiography for the detection of CAD.


A series of 116 patients (mean age, 61 ± 10 years) referred for evaluation of CAD underwent SBE (starting at 25 W, with 25-W increments every 2–3 min) and TME with peak and postexercise imaging acquisition, in a random sequence. Digitized images at baseline, at peak TME, after TME, and at peak SBE were interpreted in a random and blinded fashion. All patients underwent coronary angiography.


Maximal heart rate was higher during TME, whereas systolic blood pressure was higher during SBE, resulting in similar rate-pressure products. On quantitative angiography, 75 patients had coronary stenosis (≥50%). In these patients, wall motion score indexes at maximal exercise were higher at peak TME (median, 1.45; interquartile range [IQR], 1.13–1.75) than at peak SBE (median, 1.25; IQR, 1.0–1.56) or after TME (median, 1.13; IQR, 1.0–1.38) (P = .002 between peak TME and peak SBE imaging, P < .001 between post-TME imaging and the other modalities). The extent of myocardial ischemia (number of ischemic segments) was also higher during peak TME (median, 5; IQR, 2–12) compared with peak SBE (median, 3; IQR, 0–8) or after TME (median, 2; IQR, 0–4) (P < .001 between peak TME and peak SBE imaging, P < .001 between post-TME imaging and the other modalities). ST-segment changes in patients with CAD and normal baseline ST segments were higher during TME (median, 1 mm [IQR, 0–1.9 mm] vs 0 mm [IQR, 0–1.5 mm]; P = .006). The sensitivity of peak TME, peak SBE, and post-TME echocardiography for CAD was 84%, 75%, and 60% (P = .001 between post-TME and peak TME echocardiography, P = .055 between post-TME and peak SBE echocardiography), with specificity of 63%, 80%, and 78%, respectively (P = NS) and accuracy of 77%, 77%, and 66%, respectively (P = NS). Peak TME echocardiography diagnosed multivessel disease in 27 of the 40 patients with stenoses in more than one coronary artery, in contrast to 17 patients with peak SBE imaging and 12 with post-TME imaging (P < .05 between peak TME imaging and the other modalities). Image quality was similar with the three techniques. The duration of the test was longer with SBE echocardiography (9.5 ± 3.8 vs 7.6 ± 2.5 min, P < .001).


During TME and SBE, patients achieve similar double products. Ischemia is more extensive and frequent with peak TME, which makes peak TME a more valuable exercise echocardiographic modality to increase sensitivity. However, peak SBE should be preferred to TME if the latter is performed with postexercise imaging acquisition.

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