- The cardiovascular evaluation of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) has been hampered by the suboptimal sensitivity and specificity of currently employed diagnostic tests. Dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) is a recently developed technique which is accurate for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease (CAD) in general populations. The purpose of this study was to assess its diagnostic accuracy and prognostic implications in patients with ESRD. Patients with ESRD (n = 97) underwent DSE as part of a preoperative evaluation before being listed for renal transplantation. Patients were followed for 12 +/- 6 months (range 1 to 24) after the study. Rest and dobutamine stress echocardiograms were analyzed for regional and global function. Coronary angiography was performed in 30 patients, and 25 underwent renal transplantation in the follow-up period. DSE had a sensitivity of 95% (92% for 1-vessel, 100% for > or = 2-vessel disease), specificity of 86%, and accuracy of 90% for the detection of CAD. During the follow-up period, 6 patients died; DSE revealed inducible ischemia in 4, and catheterization before death revealed multivessel CAD in 2. Conversely, a normal DSE identified a very low risk population, with a 97% probability of being free of cardiac complications or death during the follow-up period. We conclude that DSE accurately identifies CAD in patients with ESRD and identifies a cohort of patients at low risk for cardiac complications.