Objective Cardiac allograft vasculopathy is one of the leading causes of late graft failure and subsequent death in orthotopic heart transplant. Although invasive coronary angiography is the gold standard modality for detection of cardiac allograft vasculopathy, dobutamine stress echocardiography has been recently frequently used as an alternative. Our aim was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of dobutamine stress echocardiography for detection of cardiac allograft vasculopathy in transplant patients. Methods A retrospective analysis was conducted using a total of 150 dobutamine stress echocardiographic exams that were performed on 99 patients in our institution, with paired coronary angiogram and no acute rejection, within a median of 538 [interquartile range 371-816] days. Sensitivity and specificity of dobutamine echocardiography to detect allograft vasculopathy was evaluated. Allograft vasculopathy was defined as Grade 1 or higher based on ISHLT criteria. A positive dobutamine stress echo result was defined by new or worsening wall motion abnormality. Results Median age of the population at transplant was 34 [interquartile range 22-46] years; 76 (77%) patients were male. Allograft vasculopathy was present in 31 (20.6%) out of 150 coronary angiograms. Only 7 (4.6%) of that number were positive on dobutamine stress echocardiography. Sensitivity and specificity for allograft vasculopathy detection was 3% and 94%, respectively. Out of 7 false positive dobutamine stress echocardiograms, two were in patients with myocardial bridging. Two patients with mild acute rejection had both negative dobutamine stress echo. Conclusions Overall, positivity of dobutamine stress echocardiography in patients after heart transplant is low. It has high specificity, but very low sensitivity for detection of cardiac allograft vasculopathy. Dobutamine stress echocardiography should only be cautiously used as an alternative to coronary angiography.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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