BACKGROUND: Coronary vasomotor dysfunction is an important mechanism for angina in patients with unobstructed coronary arteries.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to determine sex differences in the prevalence and clinical presentation of vasomotor dysfunction in a European population and to examine sex differences in the dose of acetylcholine leading to a positive acetylcholine provocation test (ACH test).
METHODS: Between 2007 and 2014, we included 1,379 consecutive patients with stable angina, unobstructed coronaries and ACH test performed for epicardial vasospasm or coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) due to microvascular spasm. The predictive value of sex, risk factors, symptoms, and noninvasive test results was analyzed by means of logistic regression.
RESULTS: The mean patient age was 62 years, and 42% were male. There were 813 patients (59%) with a pathological ACH test, 33% for CMD and 26% for epicardial vasospasm. A pathological test was more common in females (70% vs. 43%; p < 0.001). In a multivariable logistic regression model the sex difference was statistically significant with a female-male odds ratio for CMD and epicardial vasospasm of 4.2 (95% confidence interval: 3.1 to 5.5; p < 0.001) and 2.3 (95% confidence interval: 1.7 to 3.1; p < 0.001), respectively. Effort-related symptoms, but neither risk factors nor noninvasive stress tests, contributed to predicting a pathological test. Female patients were more sensitive to acetylcholine with vasomotor dysfunction occurring at lower ACH doses compared with male patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Vasomotor dysfunction is frequent in patients with angina and unobstructed coronaries in a European population. Female patients have a higher prevalence of vasomotor dysfunction (especially CMD) compared with male patients. A pathological ACH test was observed at lower ACH doses in women compared with men.
- acetylcholine provocation test
- coronary microvascular dysfunction
- epicardial spasm
- nonobstructive coronary artery disease