Effects of the dipyridamole test on left ventricular function in coronary artery disease

Herman O. Klein*, Reuven Ninio, Shlomo Eliyahu, Avinoam Bakst, Alex Levi, Hadassah Dean, Victor Oren, Bruno Beker, Elieser Kaplinsky, Shlomo Gilboa, Elio Di Segni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The dipyridamole stress test is used with thallium-201 to detect areas of inhomogeneity of blood flow that point to coronary artery disease (CAD). It is unclear whether dipyridamole produces inhomogeneous perfusion only or whether it actually decreases net flow in the obstructed vessels and produces true ischemia. It is also unclear what effect dipyridamole has on global and segmental left ventricular function. Therefore, ejection fraction, segmental wall motion and ventricular volume equivalents were measured before and after dipyridamole in 113 patients and 32 normal subjects. Ejection fraction responded in an abnormal fashion in 98 patients (87%), decreasing from 49 ± 11% to 43 ± 13% (p < 0.0001), whereas it increased in 29 normal subjects (90%) from 57 ± 6% to 64 ± 10% (p < 0.0001). Wall motion worsened distinctly in 75 patients (66%), and pressure/volume ratio deteriorated in 72%. The effect of dipyridamole lasted between 10 and 25 minutes, but was promptly reversed by aminophylline. These findings indicate that dipyridamole generally induces true ischemia in CAD. Furthermore, the degree of dysfunction is related to the angiographically assessed severity of CAD. The shortness of breath (seen in 10% of patients) may be partially explained by the findings, and it seems advisable to give aminophylline to every patient in order to promptly correct left ventricular dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-488
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 15 Feb 1992


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