Association between beta-adrenoceptor antagonist-induced sympathicolysis and severity of coronary artery disease as assessed by coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA)
Enhanced sympathetic nervous system activity is associated with increased mortality in many cardiac conditions including heart failure and coronary artery disease (CAD). To ensure adequate image quality of coronary CT angiography (CCTA), pre-scan β-adrenergic blockers (BB) are routinely administered. It is currently unknown whether sensitivity to sympathicolytic compounds is associated with severity of CAD. A total of 2633 consecutive patients (1733 [65.8%] men and 900 [34.2%] women, mean age 56.7 ± 11.5 years) undergoing CCTA for exclusion of significant CAD at our department between 06/2013 and 12/2016 were evaluated. Acute heart rate (HR) responses to BB administration were recorded in all patients. Coronary plaque burden as indicated by segment severity score (SSS), segment involvement score (SIS), and significant CAD (i.e. > 50% luminal narrowing) was higher in weak responders to BB as compared to strong responders to BB (p = 0.001 for SSS and SIS, and p = 0.021 for significant CAD). Accordingly, in a multiple linear regression model adjusted for known risk factors of CAD such as smoking, hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidaemia, as well as age, sex, body mass index (BMI), glomerular filtration rate, and HR during CCTA scan, a strong response to BB was selected as a significant independent negative predictor of coronary plaque burden (beta coefficient − 0.08, p = 0.001). We demonstrate that individuals with a weak acute response to BB administration encounter an increased risk of severe CAD. Taking into account sensitivity to sympatho-inhibition may add complementary information in patients undergoing CCTA for evaluation of CAD.
KeywordsCardiac sympathetic activity Cardiovascular risk Coronary computed tomography angiography
This study was supported by grants from the Iten-Kohaut Foundation, Switzerland (MM), the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the Olga Mayenfisch Foundation, Switzerland, the OPO Foundation, Switzerland, the Novartis Foundation, Switzerland, the Helmut Horten Foundation, Switzerland, and the Swissheart Foundation (CG).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Michael Messerli received a research grant from the Iten-Kohaut Foundation, Switzerland. Catherine Gebhard received research grants from the Novartis Foundation, Switzerland. The University Hospital of Zurich holds a research contract with GE Healthcare. No further specific grants from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors were received for this study.
Research involving human participants
The study was conducted in compliance with ICH-GCP-rules and the declaration of Helsinki and was evaluated and approved by the local ethics committee (BASEC No. 2017-01112).
The need for written informed consent was waived by the ethics committee due to the retrospective nature of the study.
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