Treatment of coronary microvascular dysfunction
Contemporary data indicate that patients with signs and symptoms of ischaemia and non-obstructive coronary artery disease (INOCA) often have coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) with elevated risk for adverse outcomes. Coronary endothelial (constriction with acetylcholine) and/or microvascular (limited coronary flow reserve with adenosine) dysfunction are well-documented, and extensive non-obstructive atherosclerosis is often present. Despite these data, patients with INOCA currently remain under-treated, in part, because existing management guidelines do not address this large, mostly female population due to the absence of evidence-based data. Relatively small sample-sized, short-term pilot studies of symptomatic mostly women, with INOCA, using intense medical therapies targeting endothelial, microvascular, and/or atherosclerosis mechanisms suggest symptom, ischaemia, and coronary vascular functional improvement, however, randomized, controlled outcome trials testing treatment strategies have not been completed. We review evidence regarding CMD pharmacotherapy. Potent statins in combination with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I) or receptor blockers if intolerant, at maximally tolerated doses appear to improve angina, stress testing, myocardial perfusion, coronary endothelial function, and microvascular function. The Coronary Microvascular Angina trial supports invasive diagnostic testing with stratified therapy as an approach to improve symptoms and quality of life. The WARRIOR trial is testing intense medical therapy of high-intensity statin, maximally tolerated ACE-I plus aspirin on longer-term outcomes to provide evidence for guidelines. Novel treatments and those under development appear promising as the basis for future trial planning.