Multiplane transoesophageal echocardiographic absence of thoracic aortic plaque is a powerful predictor for absence of significant coronary artery disease in valvular patients, even in the elderly: A large prospective study
European Heart Journal
Aims This study was conducted to examine whether detection of atherosclerotic aortic plaque by multiplane transoesophageal echocardiography could predict the absence or presence of significant coronary artery disease in young and elderly valvular patients. Methods and results Clinical and angiographic features and transoesophageal echocardiography findings were prospectively analysed in 278 consecutive valvular patients. In 93 patients with significant coronary artery disease, 85 had thoracic
... , 85 had thoracic aortic plaque on transoesophageal echocardiography studies. In contrast, aortic plaque existed in only 33 of the remaining 185 patients with normal or mildly abnormal coronary arteries. Therefore, the presence of aortic plaque on transoesophageal echocardiography studies had a sensitivity of 91%, a specificity of 82%, and positive and negative predictive values of 72% and 95%, respectively, for significant coronary artery disease. In the 109 patients aged >70 years, these sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were 96%, 78%, 79%, and 96%, respectively. The above high negative predictive value was the major finding of this study and indicated that the absence of thoracic plaque is a strong predictor for absence of significant coronary artery disease. There was a significant relationship between the degree of aortic intimal changes and the severity of coronary artery disease (P<0-0001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that aortic plaque, angina, hypercholesterolaemia and age were significant predictors of coronary artery disease: aortic plaque was the most significant independent predictor, even in patients > 70 years. Conclusion This large prospective study indicates that examination of thoracic atherosclerotic plaque, by multiplane transoesophageal echocardiography, is a marker for coronary artery disease, and is a particularly powerful predictor for absence of significant coronary artery disease in valvular patients, even in the elderly.