The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation vol:13 issue:6 pages:1039-44
Dobutamine stress echocardiography was performed in 28 heart transplant recipients to study its value in the detection and staging of transplant vasculopathy. Fourteen patients had angiographic evidence of coronary artery disease (group 1), and 14 had angiographically normal coronary arteries (group 2). The dobutamine stress protocol called for a dose increase of dobutamine every 3 minutes until the age-predicted maximal heart rate was achieved. In groups 1 and 2, the mean maximal dose of dobutamine was, respectively, 24 +/- 9 micrograms/kg min and 29 +/- 8 micrograms/kg min, and the mean rate-pressure product was, respectively, 12386 +/- 1777 mm Hg/min and 10753 +/- 1085 mm Hg/min at rest, increasing to 20987 +/- 4020 mm Hg/min and 19795 +/- 2728 mm Hg/min at maximal dose. No patient in group 1 or 2 had deterioration of global or regional wall motion under dobutamine stress. In group 1, seven patients had wall motion abnormalities at rest, normalizing in five of them under dobutamine stress. In group 2, four patients had wall motion abnormalities at rest, normalizing in all patients under dobutamine stress. Consequently, this protocol of dobutamine stress echocardiography is unsuitable for the early detection of transplant vasculopathy despite its proven value in the general population. Conversely, these data suggest that the functional sequelae of transplant vasculopathy are not necessarily prominent, despite the known angiographic underestimation of the extent of the disease.