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The Effect of Caffeine on Exercise Tolerance and Left Ventricular Function in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

Alan T. Hirsch, MD; Ernest V. Gervino, ScD; Shoichiro Nakao, MD; Patricia C. Come, MD; Kenneth J. Silverman, MD; and William Grossman, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Requests for Reprints: William Grossman, MD, Cardiovascular Division, Beth Israel Hospital, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Hirsch: Division of Vascular Medicine and Atherosclerosis, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.

Drs. Gervino, Come, Silverman, and Grossman: Cardiovascular Division, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.

Dr. Nakao: First Department of Internal Medicine, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan.

©1989 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1989;110(8):593-598. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-110-8-593
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Study Objective: To determine whether acute oral caffeine ingestion by patients with coronary artery disease results in decreased treadmill exercise performance or deterioration of echocardiographic measures of systolic or diastolic left ventricular function.

Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Setting: Referral-based cardiovascular exercise laboratory at an urban teaching hospital.

Patients: Thirteen volunteers with clinically stable coronary artery disease who had exercise tests after a 2-week caffeine-free washout period. Patients continued treatment with standard antianginal medications during the study period.

Interventions: Maximal exercise treadmill testing and exercise echocardiography were done at baseline, after acute ingestion of a placebo beverage (97% caffeine-free coffee), or after drinking an identical beverage containing 250 mg of caffeine sodium benzoate.

Measurements and Main Results: Acute ingestion of caffeine produced a serum level of 4. 50 ± 0.16 µg/mL, but had no effect on resting supine heart rate, blood pressure, left ventricular fractional shortening, posterior left ventricular wall thinning or peak rates of increase in left ventricular diastolic dimension. Despite a small increase in peak systolic blood pressure during exercise (baseline, 153 ± 8; placebo, 154 ± 8; caffeine, 161 ± 7 mm Hg; P < 0.05), exercise duration, time to onset of angina, and time to 0.1 mV ST depression did not differ after ingestion of placebo or caffeine. Rate-pressure product at onset of angina and onset of 0.1 mV of ST depression were also unchanged. In response to exercise, echocardiographic measures of left ventricular systolic and diastolic function were unchanged after caffeine compared with placebo ingestion.

Conclusions: These data suggest that patients with exercise-induced ischemia who are receiving appropriate antianginal therapy tolerate the caffeine-equivalent of three cups of coffee without detrimental effect on intensity of ischemia, myocardial function, or exercise duration.





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