Based on results of a large study, researchers recommend incorporating dyspnea evaluation into the assessment of patients referred for cardiac stress testing. They found that people undergoing cardiac stress testing who reported dyspnea were more than twice as likely to die from cardiac or other causes as those who reported angina.
Researchers studied 17,991 people undergoing myocardial-perfusion single-photon-emission computed tomography during stress and at rest. They used follow-up data regarding survival, which was available for most of the patients, to analyze the value of dyspnea as a predictor of death from cardiac or other causes.
Among patients with no history of coronary artery disease, those with dyspnea had four times the risk of sudden death from cardiac causes than asymptomatic patients, and more than twice the risk of those with typical angina.
Prognostic significance of dyspnea in patients referred for cardiac stress testing, The New England Journal of Medicine, A Abidov, et al., November 3, 2005.