Blood Markers for Inflammation and Coronary Artery Vasoreactivity Testing in Patients With Chest Pain and Normal Coronary Arteries

2014-07-23 21:08:16 | BioPortfolio


The investigators are hoping to discover the cause of chest pain in patients with a normal coronary arteriogram. For patients with chest pain coronary angiography is the standard method by which the blood vessels of the heart can be visualized and any narrowing can be assessed. In some cases the investigators find totally normal coronary blood vessels or only minor disease. Such a finding is associated with an excellent long term prognosis. However, as a large proportion of patients with normal coronary arteries or mild coronary narrowings often continue to experience recurrent chest pains the investigators are interested in understanding the mechanisms responsible for this. The investigators hypothesise that in many cases, coronary artery spasms are responsible for the recurrent chest pains. These spasms usually respond to treatment with drugs known as vasodilators. The acetylcholine test (ACH-test) has been recommended by the European Society of Cardiology and the American College of Cardiology as a diagnostic test. This test can reveal whether the coronary blood vessels have a tendency to go into spasm. The investigators plan in this study to carry out the test in patients who have chest pains suggestive of coronary narrowings but are found to have normal or only mildly narrowed coronary arteries on angiography. A positive test -indicating a tendency for spasm- may help guiding therapy with vasodilators, which are often very effective to prevent coronary spasms. The investigators would also like to take blood samples during the test (before and after) from every patient to measure blood markers and see if there is a relation between these markers and the result of the ACH-test.


This study comprises two parts:

1. Blood sample

2. ACH-test (including coronary flow measurements)

Blood will be taken, frozen and stored for up to 5 years. To comply with current regulations we have to let you know all the tests for which your blood will be used. The scientific names are C-reactive protein, E-selectin, neopterin, troponin and CD40 ligand. These are essential biochemical markers or so called pro-inflammatory substances that normally circulate in the blood but their levels can increase under certain conditions such as stress or inflammation. The results of these investigations are unlikely to have any implications for you personally.

Coronary angiography will be performed according to routine clinical guidelines. If we find severe disease standard treatment procedures will take place and we will only ask for a blood sample. If we find normal coronary arteries on coronary angiography we will conduct the ACH-test as part of the study. After injecting ACH into the coronary arteries narrowing can occur and provoke the same or similar symptoms as at home (i.e. chest pain). If you experience severe pain we will inject a drug called nitroglycerine to relieve the pain. Then we will measure the capacity of the blood vessels to dilate with a special catheter. The whole procedure including coronary angiography and ACH-test will last for about one hour. There is only very little radiation needed for the ACH-test which is unlikely to cause any health problems. In some very rare cases chest pain can be prolonged and heart rhythm disorders can occur. In worst case prolonged narrowing can lead to a heart attack (myocardial infarction, <1%).

The result of the ACH-test can lead to 3 different results.

1. Coronary spasm. This means that the narrowing of the blood vessel occurs in a place where it can be seen on the screen during angiography.

2. Microvascular dysfunction This means that the narrowing of the blood vessel cannot be seen on the screen but on the ECG. It only affects the very small blood vessels of the heart.

3. Normal ACH-test This means that the test is normal and the patient has no chest pain during the test and also no narrowing.

Depending on the result we will suggest to start with a medication according to current guidelines and inform your GP about the results and further suggestions for treatment. To maintain your confidentiality all participants are entered onto our secure database using only their initials and a study number.

Study Design

Allocation: Non-Randomized, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Diagnostic


Endothelial Dysfunction


Acetylcholine, Adenosine


Department of Cardiology, St George's Healthcare NHS Trust
United Kingdom
SW17 0RE




St George's Healthcare NHS Trust

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:08:16-0400

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