Diagnostic accuracy of dobutamine stress echocardiography in the detection of cardiac allograft vasculopathy in heart transplant recipients: A systematic review and meta-analysis study

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BACKGROUND: Dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) is a well-established imaging modality used to screen patients with mild-to-moderate risk for coronary artery disease. In heart transplantation recipients, cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is a common and lethal complication. The use of DSE to detect CAV showed promising results initially, but later studies showed limitation in its use to detect CAV. It is unclear if this cohort of patients derives benefit from DSE. METHODS: We searched PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Embase, and Scopus from inception through March 2018 for studies examining the accuracy of DSE in correlation to coronary angiography (CA) or intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) to detect CAV. Original studies comparing the ability of DSE to detect CAV in comparison with CA or IVUS were included. Relevant data were extracted and hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic analysis was conducted to test the overall diagnostic accuracy of DSE for patients with CAV. RESULTS: Eleven studies (749 participants) met the inclusion criteria. The sensitivity of DSE varied from 1.7% to 93.8%, and specificity, from 54.8% to 98.8%. Pooled sensitivity was 60.2% (95% confidence interval (CI), 33.0%-82.3%) and specificity 85.7% (95% CI, 73.8%-92.7%). DSE had an overall diagnostic odds ratio (OR) of 9.1 (95% CI, 4.6-17.8), positive likelihood ratio (LR+) of 4.1 (95% CI, 2.8-6.1), negative likelihood ratio (LR-) of 0.47 (95% CI: 0.23-0.73), and area under curve (AUC) of 0.73 (95% CI, 0.72-0.75). Heterogeneity among studies was not statistically significant (tau(2 ) = 0.32, Cochran's Q = 9.5, P = 0.483). CONCLUSION: Dobutamine stress echocardiography has a limited sensitivity to detect early CAV but its specificity is much higher. There remains a need for an alternative noninvasive modality which will have both high sensitivity and high specificity for detecting CAV.

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ePub ahead of print