Despite the trend of decreasing death rates attributable to ischaemic heart disease and stroke, the prevalence of heart failure and the resultant death rates in the United States have almost tripled between 1974 and 1994 . Coronary artery disease is the commonest cause of heart failure in developed countries, accounting for up to 60% of cases. Advances in medical therapy, particularly the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and beta-blockers, have served to reduce morbidity and mortality in patients with left ventricular (LV) dysfunction due to coronary artery disease [2-5]. However, these improvements have been modest, and despite these therapies, patients with severe ischaemic cardiomyopathy continue to have a high mortality when treated medically. It is increasingly clear that the impaired LV function in these patients is not always an irreversible process. Traditionally, these observations have been made following demonstrable improvements in systolic function after coronary revascularization procedures. Diagnostic testing to evaluate the presence and extent of viable myocardium has therefore become an important component of the clinical assessment of patients with chronic coronary artery disease and LV dysfunction.
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View details for PubMedID 11930187