Coronary Functional Abnormalities in Patients With Angina and Nonobstructive Coronary Artery Disease

Akira Suda, Jun Takahashi, Kiyotaka Hao, Yoku Kikuchi, Tomohiko Shindo, Shohei Ikeda, Koichi Sato, Jun Sugisawa, Yasuharu Matsumoto, Satoshi Miyata, Yasuhiko Sakata, Hiroaki Shimokawa

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90 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Approximately one-half of patients undergoing diagnostic coronary angiography for angina have no significant coronary stenosis, in whom coronary functional abnormalities could be involved. Objectives: This study examined the significance of coronary functional abnormalities in a comprehensive manner for both epicardial and microvascular coronary arteries in patients with angina and nonobstructive coronary artery disease (CAD). Methods: This study prospectively enrolled 187 consecutive patients (male/female 113/74, 63.2 ± 12.3 years), who underwent acetylcholine provocation test for coronary spasm and measurement of index of microcirculatory resistance (IMR) to evaluate coronary microvascular function, and followed them for a median of 893 days. Results: Of all subjects, acetylcholine test identified 128 patients with vasospastic angina (VSA) (68%), and cardiac events occurred in 10 patients (5.3%) during the follow-up. Multivariable analysis revealed that IMR correlated with the incidence of cardiac events (hazard ratio: 1.05; 95% confidence interval: 1.02 to 1.09; p = 0.002) and receiver-operating characteristics (ROC) curve analysis identified IMR of 18.0 as the optimal cut-off value. Among the 4 groups based on the cut-off value of IMR and the presence of VSA, the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed a significantly worse prognosis in the group with high IMR (≥18.0) and VSA compared with other groups (log rank, p = 0.002). Importantly, intracoronary administration of fasudil, a Rho-kinase inhibitor, significantly ameliorated IMR in the VSA patients with increased IMR (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: These results indicate that in patients with angina and nonobstructive CAD, coexistence of epicardial coronary spasm and increased microvascular resistance is associated with worse prognosis, for which Rho-kinase activation may be involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2350-2360
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 12


  • IMR
  • Rho-kinase
  • coronary spasm
  • microvascular dysfunction
  • nonobstructive coronary artery disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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