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Posts Tagged ‘mildly positive est’

In this politically and scientifically  uncertain world nothing is  in black and white. How can you  expect  EST to behave differently ?

Even as  we  are fully  aware of the  limitations  of EST  ,  it  does not make sense   to categorize  EST result into either positive or negative .

In fact , our  estimate suggests  a significant bulk of the patient would fall in the grey zone  .

It is referred  in various terms by  the reporters of EST .

  • Borderline positive
  • Mildly positive
  • Equivocal
  • Inconclusive

What does all these terms mean to the patient ?

It mans only one thing . . .

Physician  who reports  the  EST    is unable to  conclude whether  his patient has  significant  CAD  or not . It is a dignified way of  expressing  the  limitations .

Many factors may play a role. (See the illustration above )

  • Patient factors : Poor exercise stress levels and conditioning
  • Lesion factors:  Collateralised CAD, treated CAD  can result in partial or mild  changes.
  • Machine factors :Caliberation errors.
  • Interpreter : (Physician ) factors

Error in measurement of ST segment . What is borderline  for  one doctor may indeed be true positive  for the other and vice versa .

How will be the  EST in  a  revascularised  or  medically treated CAD ?

If revascularization is a complete success ,  stress test  would  revert back to normal or it can be a borderline as we have just mentioned.

To our  surprise ,  it may  remain  positive in spite of apparently successful procedure.(Residual wall motion defects , scar mediated  ?)

How to proceed  after this borderline EST/TMT ?

Few options are available for the physician/patient

Talk  with the patient again  , assess the  baseline risk  of CAD   if it is low ignore the TMT result and reassure.

  • Repeat  stress test after  a month.
  • Stress thallium
  • Doubutamine  stress
  • CT angiogram
  • Regular Cath  angiogram* (May be the best , of course it also carries a  risk of labeling  the condition as  mild  CAD / non critical CAD etc )

For the  patient  the  easiest  option  may be ,   self  referral to a different cardiologist .   (Also called second opinion )

Final message

There is indeed an entity called   borderline  EST  . Do not dare to  ignore it  or else  face the consequences .

Read  related articles in this site .

1.Can medical management convert EST positive to negative ?

2. Should every one with positive EST should undergo CAG ?

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