Silent myocardial ischemia is common in the clinical spectrum of coronary disease. Ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring has provided the most objective evidence of silent ischemia, but the phenomenon has also been detected in patients with coronary artery disease through analysis of exercise-induced ischemic ST-segment alterations, scintigraphic myocardial perfusion defects and left ventricular wall motion abnormalities. Silent myocardial ischemia frequently occurs in patients with stable angina, unstable angina, myocardial infarction and completely asymptomatic coronary artery disease. In each of these groups, silent ischemia has been associated with an increased risk of subsequent cardiac events. However, it remains unclear whether silent ischemia is directly involved in the occurrence of these events, possibly by provoking ventricular arrhythmias. Only limited data are available on the relation between silent ischemia and arrhythmias in myocardial infarction, vasospastic angina, coronary angioplasty, exercise testing and ambulatory electrocardiography. However, fortuitous ambulatory monitoring coincident with sudden death has detected ischemia associated with lethal arrhythmias in some individual cases. This suggests that an ischemia-arrhythmia association may be important in certain patients at certain times, possibly in combination with other factors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine