Continuous electrocardiographic monitoring in patients with unstable angina pectoris: Identification of high-risk subgroup with severe coronary disease, variant angina, and/or impaired early prognosis

Stacey M. Johnson, David R. Mauritson, Michael D. Winniford, James T. Willerson, Brian G. Firth, Joan R. Cary, L. David Hillis

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127 Scopus citations


We assessed the value of two-channel Holter monitoring during the initial hours of hospitalization in patients with unstable angina pectoris (UAP) to identify those with severe coronary artery disease (CAD), variant angina, and/or poor prognosis over the next 3 months. Accordingly, 116 UAP patients had Holter monitoring for 27 ± 7 (mean ± SD) (range 12 to 50) hours following hospitalization. Of these, 24 evolved myocardial infarction (MI) during monitoring and 92 did not. Transient ST segment alterations occurred in 21 of the 92. Of these 21, 4 had variant angina, were treated with calcium antagonists, and did well. Each of the remaining 17 had severe fixed CAD (left main or three-vessel) (n = 12) and/or poor prognosis over the 3 months after discharge as manifested by death (n = 1), MI (n = 3), and/or severe angina (n = 3). In contrast, 71 patients did not demonstrate transient ST segment alterations: none had variant angina (p < 0.001), nine had left main or three-vessel CAD (p < 0.001), and 50 were alive and well 3 months after discharge (p < 0.001). Ventricular tachycardia (VT) was demonstrated by Holter monitor in 5 of the 92 patients: four had three-vessel CAD and the other had severe persistent angina. Thus in patients hospitalized with unstable angina, transient ST segment alterations and/or VT on Holter monitor are specific predictors of "high-risk" subgroup UAP patients with left main or three-vessel CAD, variant angina, and/or impaired 3-month prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-12
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1982


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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