Non-invasive assessment of coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients with hypertensive heart disease is still a major clinical challenge. The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of different non-invasive techniques in detecting significant (>50%) CAD in hypertensive patients.

Material and methods:
We systematically searched selected electronic databases from inception until 21st February 2024. Main clinical endpoint was the diagnostic accuracy of non-invasive investigations including exercise electrocardiography test (EET), stress echocardiography (SE) and myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI). The random effects summary receiver operating characteristic analysis was performed.

Twenty-five papers with a total of 3812 patients with systemic hypertension and suspected significant CAD were finally included in the meta-analysis. The diagnostic accuracy of SE was the highest compared to the two other investigations (85%, 72%, 53%, p<0.05 for all). SE had higher sensitivity 85% (83-87%) and specificity 81% (79-83%) compared to MPI [Sensitivity 81% (77-83%), specificity 64% (59-68%)] and EET [Sensitivity: 53% (50-65%) and specificity 51% (47-54%)]. All three tested investigations had higher accuracy in patients with multivessel disease compared to those with single-vessel disease (p<0.05 for all). The diagnostic accuracy of SE and MPI was not significantly impacted by left ventricular hypertrophy (p>0.05 for both), compared to EET which was lower in patients with hypertrophy compared to those without (41% vs. 58%, p=0.03). These results were consistent irrespective of the stress echo modality, physical, exercise or pharmacological (p>0.05).

This meta-analysis reveals the powerful diagnostic value of stress echocardiography in detecting significant coronary artery disease in hypertension patients.

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