Noninvasive risk assessment after myocardial infarction

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Mortality from acute myocardial infarction is substantially less than it was two and even one decade ago. This improvement in both short-term and postdischarge outcome results both from early interventions to restore myocardial perfusion and mitigate expansion and remodeling, and from later assessment and management of functional status at the time of hospital discharge.


Recent studies suggest that invasive evaluation of the patient who has had a myocardial infarction (MI) should not be recommended on a routine basis. This review provides an approach to the noninvasive assessment of the patient.


Stress testing to ascertain post-MI ischemia, ejection fraction determination to evaluate ventricular volumes and function, and ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring, electrophysiologic study, and signal-averaged electrocardiography to assess presence and type of ventricular ectopy are discussed.


The approach to the post-MI patient offered herein is felt to be medically sound and cost-effective. Refinement and alterations in this approach will be necessary as outcomes in specific patient groups, such as thrombolysis patients, women, and the elderly, become clearer.


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