TN 4 (02-02)
DI 34124.007 Cardiovascular Listings From 10/25/99 To 02/18/02
4.00 CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM
A. Introduction. The listings in this section describe impairments resulting from cardiovascular disease
based on symptoms, physical signs, laboratory test abnormalities, and response to
a regimen of therapy prescribed by a treating source. A longitudinal clinical record
covering a period of not less than 3 months of observations and therapy is usually
necessary for the assessment of severity and expected duration of cardiovascular impairment,
unless the claim can be decided favorably on the basis of the current evidence. All
relevant evidence must be considered in assessing disability.
Many individuals, especially those who have listing-level impairments, will have received
the benefit of medically prescribed treatment. Whenever there is evidence of such
treatment, the longitudinal clinical record must include a description of the therapy
prescribed by the treating source and response, in addition to information about the
nature and severity of the impairment. It is important to document any prescribed
therapy and response because this medical management may have improved the individual's
functional status. The longitudinal record should provide information regarding functional
recovery, if any.
Some individuals will not have received ongoing treatment or have an ongoing relationship
with the medical community despite the existence of a severe impairment(s). Unless
the claim can be decided favorably on the basis of the current evidence, a longitudinal
record is still important because it will provide information about such things as
the ongoing medical severity of the impairment, the degree of recovery from cardiac
insult, the level of the individual's functioning, and the frequency, severity, and
duration of symptoms. Also, several listings include a requirement for continuing
signs and symptoms despite a regimen of prescribed treatment. Even though an individual
who does not receive treatment may not be able to show an impairment that meets the
criteria of these listings, the individual may have an impairment(s) equivalent in
severity to one of the listed impairments or be disabled because of a limited residual
Indeed, it must be remembered that these listings are only examples of common cardiovascular
disorders that are severe enough to prevent a person from engaging in gainful activity.
Therefore, in any case in which an individual has a medically determinable impairment
that is not listed, or a combination of impairments no one of which meets a listing,
we will make a medical equivalence determination. Individuals who have an impairment(s)
with a level of severity which does not meet or equal the criteria of the cardiovascular
listings may or may not have the residual functional capacity (RFC) which would enable
them to engage in substantial gainful activity. Evaluation of the impairment(s) of
these individuals should proceed through the final steps of the sequential evaluation
process (or, as appropriate, the steps in the medical improvement review standard).
B. Cardiovascular impairment results from one or more of four consequences of heart disease:
1. Chronic heart failure or ventricular dysfunction.
2. Discomfort or pain due to myocardial ischemia, with or without necrosis of heart
3. Syncope, or near syncope, due to inadequate cerebral perfusion from any cardiac
cause such as obstruction of flow or disturbance in rhythm or conduction resulting
in inadequate cardiac output.
4. Central cyanosis due to right-to-left shunt, arterial desaturation, or pulmonary
Impairment from diseases of arteries and veins may result from disorders of the vasculature
in the central nervous system (11.04A, B), eyes (2.02-2.04), kidney (6.02), and other
C. Documentation. Each individual's file must include sufficiently detailed reports on history, physical
examinations, laboratory studies, and any prescribed therapy and response to allow
an independent reviewer to assess the severity and duration of the cardiovascular
a. An original or legible copy of the 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) obtained at
rest must be submitted, appropriately dated and labeled with the standardization inscribed
on the tracing. Alteration in standardization of specific leads (such as to accommodate
large QRS amplitudes) must be identified on those leads.
(1) Detailed descriptions or computer-averaged signals without original or legible
copies of the ECG as described in subsection 4.00C1a are not acceptable.
(2) The effects of drugs or electrolyte abnormalities must be considered as possible
noncoronary causes of ECG abnormalities of ventricular repolarization, i.e., those
involving the ST segment and T wave. If available, the predrug (especially digitalis
glycoside) ECG should be submitted.
(3) The term “ischemic” is used in 4.04A to describe an abnormal ST segment deviation.
Nonspecific repolarization abnormalities should not be confused with “ischemic” changes.
b. ECGs obtained in conjunction with treadmill, bicycle, or arm exercise tests should
meet the following specifications:
(1) ECGs must include the original calibrated ECG tracings or a legible copy.
(2) A 12-lead baseline ECG must be recorded in the upright position before exercise.
(3) A 12-lead ECG should be recorded at the end of each minute of exercise, including
at the time the ST segment abnormalities reach or exceed the criteria for abnormality
described in 4.04A or the individual experiences chest discomfort or other abnormalities,
and also when the exercise test is terminated.
(4) If ECG documentation of the effects of hyperventilation is obtained, the exercise
test should be deferred for at least 10 minutes because metabolic changes of hyperventilation
may alter the physiologic and ECG response to exercise.
(5) Post-exercise ECGs should be recorded using a generally accepted protocol consistent
with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice.
(6) All resting, exercise, and recovery ECG strips must have a standardization inscribed
on the tracing. The ECG strips should be labeled to indicate the times recorded and
the relationship to the stage of the exercise protocol. The speed and grade (treadmill
test) or work rate (bicycle or arm ergometric test) should be recorded. The highest
level of exercise achieved, blood pressure levels during testing, and the reason(s)
for terminating the test (including limiting signs or symptoms) must be recorded.
2. Purchasing Exercise Tests.
a. It is well recognized by medical experts that exercise testing is the best tool
currently available for estimating maximal aerobic capacity in individuals with cardiovascular
impairments. Purchase of an exercise test may be appropriate when there is a question
whether an impairment meets or is equivalent in severity to one of the listings, or
when there is insufficient evidence in the record to evaluate aerobic capacity, and
the claim cannot otherwise be favorably decided. Before purchasing an exercise test,
a program physician, preferably one with experience in the care of patients with cardiovascular
disease, must review the pertinent history, physical examinations, and laboratory
tests to determine whether obtaining the test would present a significant risk to
the individual (see 4.00C2c). Purchase may be indicated when there is no significant
risk to exercise testing and there is no timely test of record. An exercise test is
generally considered timely for 12 months after the date performed, provided there
has been no change in clinical status that may alter the severity of the cardiac impairment.
(1) When an exercise test is purchased, it should be a “sign-or symptom-limited” test
characterized by a progressive multistage regimen. A purchased exercise test must
be performed using a generally accepted protocol consistent with the prevailing state
of medical knowledge and clinical practice. A description of the protocol that was
followed must be provided, and the test must meet the requirements of 4.00Clb and
this section. A preexercise post hyperventilation tracing may be essential for the
proper evaluation of an “abnormal” test in certain circumstances, such as in women
with evidence of mitral valve prolapse.
(2) The exercise test should be paced to the capabilities of the individual and be
supervised by a physician. With a treadmill test, the speed, grade (incline) and duration
of exercise must be recorded for each exercise test stage performed. Other exercise
test protocols or techniques that are used should utilize similar workloads.
(3) Levels of exercise should be described in terms of workload and duration of each
stage, e.g., treadmill speed and grade, or bicycle ergometer work rate in kpm/min
(4) Normally, systolic blood pressure and heart rate increase gradually with exercise.
A decrease in systolic blood pressure during exercise below the usual resting level
is often associated with ischemia-induced left ventricular dysfunction resulting in
decreased cardiac output. Some individuals (because of deconditioning or apprehension)
with increased sympathetic responses may increase their systolic blood pressure and
heart rate above their usual resting level just before and early into exercise. This
occurrence may limit the ability to assess the significance of an early decrease in
systolic blood pressure and heart rate if exercise is discontinued shortly after initiation.
In addition, isolated systolic hypertension may be a manifestation of arteriosclerosis.
(5) The exercise laboratory's physical environment, staffing, and equipment should
meet the generally accepted standards for adult exercise test laboratories.
c. Risk factors in exercise testing. The following are examples of situations in which exercise testing will not be purchased:
unstable progressive angina pectoris, a history of acute myocardial infarction within
the past 3 months, New York Heart Association (NYHA) class IV heart failure, cardiac
drug toxicity, uncontrolled serious arrhythmia (including uncontrolled atrial fibrillation,
Mobitz II, and third-degree block), Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, uncontrolled severe
systemic arterial hypertension, marked pulmonary hypertension, unrepaired aortic dissection,
left main stenosis of 50 percent or greater, marked aortic stenosis, chronic or dissecting
aortic aneurysm, recent pulmonary embolism, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, limiting
neurological or musculoskeletal impairments, or an acute illness. In addition, an
exercise test should not be purchased for individuals for whom the performance of
the test is considered to constitute a significant risk by a program physician, preferably
one experienced in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, even in the absence
of any of the above risk factors. In defining risk, the program physician, in accordance
with the regulations and other instructions on consultative examinations, will generally
give great weight to the treating physicians' opinions and will generally not override
them. In the rare situation in which the program physician does override the treating
source's opinion, a written rationale must be prepared documenting the reasons for
overriding the opinion.
d. In order to permit maximal, attainable restoration of functional capacity, exercise
testing should not be purchased until 3 months after an acute myocardial infarction,
surgical myocardial revascularization, or other open-heart surgical procedures. Purchase
of an exercise test should also be deferred for 3 months after percutaneous transluminal
coronary angioplasty because restenosis with ischemic symptoms may occur within a
few months of angioplasty (see 4.00D). Also, individuals who have had a period of
bedrest or inactivity (e.g., 2 weeks) that results in a reversible deconditioned state
may do poorly if exercise testing is performed at that time.
(1) Exercise testing is evaluated on the basis of the work level at which the test
becomes abnormal, as documented by onset of signs or symptoms and any ECG abnormalities
listed in 4.04A. The ability or inability to complete an exercise test is not, by
itself, evidence that a person is free from ischemic heart disease. The results of
an exercise test must be considered in the context of all of the other evidence in
the individual's case record. If the individual is under the care of a treating physician
for a cardiac impairment, and this physician has not performed an exercise test and
there are no reported significant risks to testing (see 4.00C2c), a statement should
be requested from the treating physician explaining why it was not done or should
not be done before deciding whether an exercise test should be purchased. In those
rare situations in which the treating source's opinion is overridden, follow 4.00C2c.
If there is no treating physician, the program physician will be responsible for assessing
the risk to exercise testing.
(2) Limitations to exercise test interpretation include the presence of noncoronary
or nonischemic factors that may influence the hemodynamic and ECG response to exercise,
such as hypokalemia or other electrolyte abnormality, hyperventilation, vasoregulatory
deconditioning, prolonged periods of physical inactivity (e.g., 2 weeks of bedrest),
significant anemia, left bundle branch block pattern on the ECG (and other conduction
abnormalities that do not preclude the purchase of exercise testing), and other heart
diseases or abnormalities (particularly valvular heart disease). Digitalis glycosides
may cause ST segment abnormalities at rest, during, and after exercise. Digitalis
or other drug-related ST segment displacement, present at rest, may become accentuated
with exercise and make ECG interpretation difficult, but such drugs do not invalidate
an otherwise normal exercise test. Diuretic-induced hypokalemia and left ventricular
hypertrophy may also be associated with repolarization changes and behave similarly.
Finally, treatment with beta blockers slows the heart rate more at near-maximal exertion
than at rest; this limits apparent chronotropic capacity.
3. Other Studies.
Information from two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiographic studies of ventricular
size and function as well as radionuclide (thallium201) myocardial “perfusion” or radionuclide (technetium 99m) ventriculograms (RVG or
MUGA) may be useful. These techniques can provide a reliable estimate of ejection
fraction. In selected cases, these tests may be purchased after a medical history
and physical examination, report of chest x-rays, ECGs, and other appropriate tests
have been evaluated, preferably by a program physician with experience in the care
of patients with cardiovascular disease. Purchase should be considered when other
information available is not adequate to assess whether the individual may have severe
ventricular dysfunction or myocardial ischemia and there is no significant risk involved
(follow 4.00C2a guides), and the claim cannot be favorably decided on any other basis.
Exercise testing with measurement of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2) provides an accurate determination of aerobic capacity. An exercise test without
measurement of oxygen uptake provides an estimate of aerobic capacity. When the results
of tests with measurement of oxygen uptake are available, every reasonable effort
should be made to obtain them.
The recording of properly calibrated ambulatory ECGs for analysis of ST segment signals
with a concomitantly recorded symptom and treatment log may permit more adequate evaluation
of chest discomfort during activities of daily living, but the significance of these
data for disability evaluation has not been established in the absence of symptoms
(e.g., silent ischemia). This information (including selected segments of both the
ECG recording and summary report of the patient diary) may be submitted for the record.
4. Cardiac catheterization will not be purchased by the Social Security Administration.
a. Coronary arteriography. If results of such testing are available, the report should be obtained and considered
as to the quality and type of data provided and its relevance to the evaluation of
the impairment. A copy of the report of the cardiac catheterization and ancillary
studies should also be obtained. The report should provide information citing the
method of assessing coronary arterial lumen diameter and the nature and location of
obstructive lesions. Drug treatment at baseline and during the procedure should be
reported. Coronary artery spasm induced by intracoronary catheterization is not to
be considered evidence of ischemic disease. Some individuals with significant coronary
atherosclerotic obstruction have collateral vessels that supply the myocardium distal
to the arterial obstruction so that there is no evidence of myocardial damage or ischemia,
even with exercise. When available, quantitative computer measurements and analyses
should be considered in the interpretation of severity of stenotic lesions.
b. Left ventriculography (by angiography). The report should describe the wall motion of the myocardium with regard to any areas
of hypokinesis, akinesis or dyskinesis, and the overall contraction of the ventricle
as measured by the ejection fraction. Measurement of chamber volumes and pressures
may be useful. When available, quantitative computer analysis provides precise measurement
of segmental left ventricular wall thickness and motion. There is often a poor correlation
between left ventricular function at rest and functional capacity for physical activity.
D. Treatment and relationship to functional status.
1. In general, conclusions about the severity of a cardiovascular impairment cannot
be made on the basis of type of treatment rendered or anticipated. The overall clinical
and laboratory evidence, including the treatment plan(s) or results, should be persuasive
that a listing-level impairment exists. The amount of function restored and the time
required for improvement after treatment (medical, surgical, or a prescribed program
of progressive physical activity) vary with the nature and extent of the disorder,
the type of treatment, and other factors. Depending upon the timing of this treatment
in relation to the alleged onset date of disability, impairment evaluation may need
to be deferred for a period of up to 3 months from the date of treatment to permit
consideration of treatment effects. Evaluation should not be deferred if the claim
can be favorably decided based upon the available evidence.
2. The usual time after myocardial infarction, valvular and/or revascularization surgery
for adequate assessment of the results of treatment is considered to be 3 months.
If an exercise test is performed by a treating source within a week or two after angioplasty,
and there is no significant change in clinical status during the 3-month period after
the angioplasty that would invalidate the implications of the exercise test results,
the exercise test results may be used to reflect functional capacity during the period
in question. However, if the test was done immediately following an acute myocardial
infarction or during a period of protracted inactivity, the results should not be
projected to 3 months even if there is no change in clinical status.
3. An individual who has undergone cardiac transplantation will be considered under
a disability for 1 year following the surgery because, during the first year, there
is a greater likelihood of rejection of the organ and recurrent infection. After the
first year posttransplantation, continuing disability evaluation will be based upon
residual impairment as shown by symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings. Absence
of symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings indicative of cardiac dysfunction will
be included in the consideration of whether medical improvement (as defined in §§
404.1579(b)(1) and (c)(1), 404.1594(b)(1) and (c)(1), or 416.994(b)(1)(i) and (b)(2)(i),
as appropriate) has occurred.
E. Clinical syndromes.
1. Chronic heart failure (ventricular dysfunction) is considered in these listings
as one category whatever its etiology, i.e., atherosclerotic, hypertensive, rheumatic,
pulmonary, congenital or other organic heart disease. Chronic heart failure may manifest
a. Pulmonary or systemic congestion, or both; or
b. Symptoms of limited cardiac output, such as weakness, fatigue, or intolerance of
For the purpose of 4.02A, pulmonary and systemic congestion are not considered to
have been established unless there is or has been evidence of fluid retention, such
as hepatomegaly or ascites, or peripheral or pulmonary edema of cardiac origin. The
findings of fluid retention need not be present at the time of adjudication because
congestion may be controlled with medication. Chronic heart failure due to limited
cardiac output is not considered to have been established for the purpose of 4.02B
unless symptoms occur with ordinary daily activities, i.e., activity restriction as
manifested by a need to decrease activity or pace, or to rest intermittently, and
are associated with one or more physical signs or abnormal laboratory studies listed
in 4.02B. These studies include exercise testing with ECG and blood pressure recording
and/or appropriate imaging techniques, such as two-dimensional echocardiography or
radionuclide or contrast ventriculography. The exercise criteria are outlined in 4.02B1.
In addition, other abnormal symptoms, signs, or laboratory test results that lend
credence to the impression of ventricular dysfunction should be considered.
2. For the purposes of 4.03, hypertensive cardiovascular disease is evaluated by reference
to the specific organ system involved (heart, brain, kidneys, or eyes). The presence
of organic impairment must be established by appropriate physical signs and laboratory
test abnormalities as specified in 4.02 or 4.04, or for the body system involved.
3. Ischemic (coronary) heart disease may result in an impairment due to myocardial
ischemia and/or ventricular dysfunction or infarction. For the purposes of 4.04, the
clinical determination that discomfort of myocardial ischemic origin (angina pectoris)
is present must be supported by objective evidence as described under 4.00C1, 2, 3,
a. Discomfort of myocardial ischemic origin (angina pectoris) is discomfort that is
precipitated by effort and/or emotion and promptly relieved by sublingual nitroglycerin,
other rapidly acting nitrates, or rest. Typically the discomfort is located in the
chest (usually substernal) and described as crushing, squeezing, burning, aching,
or oppressive. Sharp, sticking, or cramping discomfort is considered less common or
atypical. Discomfort occurring with activity or emotion should be described specifically
as to timing and usual inciting factors (type and intensity), character, location,
radiation, duration, and response to nitrate therapy or rest.
b. So-called anginal equivalent may be localized to the neck, jaw(s), or hand(s) and
has the same precipitating and relieving factors as typical chest discomfort. Isolated
shortness of breath (dyspnea) is not considered an anginal equivalent for purposes
c. Variant angina of the Prinzmetal type, i.e., rest angina with transitory ST segment
elevation on ECG, may have the same significance as typical angina, described in 4.00E3a.
d. If there is documented evidence of silent ischemia or restricted activity to prevent
chest discomfort, this information must be considered along with all available evidence
to determine if an equivalence decision is appropriate.
e. Chest discomfort of myocardial ischemic origin is usually caused by coronary artery
disease. However, ischemic discomfort may be caused by noncoronary artery conditions,
such as critical aortic stenosis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension,
or anemia. These conditions should be distinguished from coronary artery disease,
because the evaluation criteria, management, and prognosis (duration) may differ from
that of coronary artery disease.
f. Chest discomfort of nonischemic origin may result from other cardiac conditions
such as pericarditis and mitral valve prolapse. Noncardiac conditions may also produce
symptoms mimicking that of myocardial ischemia. These conditions include gastrointestinal
tract disorders, such as esophageal spasm, esophagitis, hiatal hernia, biliary tract
disease, gastritis, peptic ulcer, and pancreatitis, and musculoskeletal syndromes,
such as chest wall muscle spasm, chest wall syndrome (especially after coronary bypass
surgery), costochondritis, and cervical or dorsal arthritis. Hyperventilation may
also mimic ischemic discomfort. Such disorders should be considered before concluding
that chest discomfort is of myocardial ischemic origin.
4. Peripheral Arterial Disease.
The level of impairment is based on the symptomatology, physical findings, Doppler
studies before and after a standard exercise test, or angiographic findings.
The requirements for evaluating peripheral arterial disease in 4.12B are based on
the ratio of the systolic blood pressure at the ankle to the systolic blood pressure
at the brachial artery, determined in the supine position at the same time. Techniques
for obtaining ankle systolic blood pressures include Doppler, plethysmographic studies,
or other techniques.
Listing 4.12B1 is met when the resting ankle/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio
is less than 0.50. Listing 4.12B2 provides additional criteria for evaluating peripheral
arterial impairment on the basis of exercise studies when the resting ankle/brachial
systolic blood pressure ratio is 0.50 or above. The decision to obtain exercise studies
should be based on an evaluation of the existing clinical evidence, but exercise studies
are rarely warranted when the resting ankle-over-brachial systolic blood pressure
ratio is 0.80 or above. The results of exercise studies should describe the level
of exercise, e.g., speed and grade of the treadmill settings, the duration of exercise,
symptoms during exercise, the reasons for stopping exercise if the expected level
of exercise was not attained, blood pressures at the ankle and other pertinent sites
measured after exercise, and the time required to return the systolic blood pressure
toward or to the pre-exercise level. When an exercise Doppler study is purchased by
the Social Security Administration, the requested exercise must be on a treadmill
at 2 mph on a 10 or 12 percent grade for 5 minutes. Exercise studies should not be
performed on individuals for whom exercise poses a significant risk.
Application of the criteria in 4.12B may be limited in individuals who have marked
calcific (Monckeberg's) sclerosis of the peripheral arteries or marked small vessel
disease associated with diabetes mellitus.
F. Effects of obesity. Obesity is a medically determinable impairment that is often associated with disturbance
of the cardiovascular system, and disturbance of this system can be a major cause
of disability in individuals with obesity. The combined effects of obesity with cardiovascular
impairments can be greater than the effects of each of the impairments considered
separately. Therefore, when determining whether an individual with obesity has a listing-level
impairment or combination of impairments, and when assessing a claim at other steps
of the sequential evaluation process, including when assessing an individual's residual
functional capacity, adjudicators must consider any additional and cumulative effects
4.01 CATEGORY OF IMPAIRMENTS, CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM
4.02 Chronic heart failure while on a regimen of prescribed treatment (see 4.00A if there is no regimen of prescribed
treatment). With one of the following:
A. Documented cardiac enlargement by appropriate imaging techniques (e.g., a cardiothoracic
ratio of greater than 0.50 on a PA chest x-ray with good inspiratory effort or left
ventricular diastolic diameter of greater than 5.5 cm on two-dimensional echocardiography),
resulting in inability to carry on any physical activity, and with symptoms of inadequate
cardiac output, pulmonary congestion, systemic congestion, or anginal syndrome at
rest (e.g., recurrent or persistent fatigue, dyspnea, orthopnea, anginal discomfort);
B. Documented cardiac enlargement by appropriate imaging techniques (see 4.02A) or
ventricular dysfunction manifested by S3, abnormal wall motion, or left ventricular
ejection fraction of 30 percent or less by appropriate imaging techniques; and
1. Inability to perform on an exercise test at a workload equivalent to 5 METs or
less due to symptoms of chronic heart failure, or, in rare instances, a need to stop
exercise testing at less than this level of work because of:
a. Three or more consecutive ventricular premature beats or three or more multiform
b. Failure to increase systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg, or decrease in systolic
pressure below the usual resting level (see 4.00C2b); or
c. Signs attributable to inadequate cerebral perfusion, such as ataxic gait or mental
2. Resulting in marked limitation of physical activity, as demonstrated by fatigue,
palpitation, dyspnea, or anginal discomfort on ordinary physical activity, even though
the individual is comfortable at rest;
C. Cor pulmonale fulfilling the criteria in 4.02A or B.
4.03 Hypertensive cardiovascular disease. Evaluate under 4.02 or 4.04, or under the criteria for the affected body system (2.02
through 2.04, 6.02, or 11.04A or B).
4.04 Ischemic heart disease, with chest discomfort associated with myocardial ischemia, as described in 4.00E3,
while on a regimen of prescribed treatment (see 4.00A if there is no regimen of prescribed
treatment). With one of the following:
A. Sign- or symptom-limited exercise test demonstrating at least one of the following
manifestations at a workload equivalent to 5 METs or less:
1. Horizontal or downsloping depression, in the absence of digitalis glycoside therapy
and/or hypokalemia, of the ST segment of at least -0.10 millivolts (-1.0 mm) in at
least 3 consecutive complexes that are on a level baseline in any lead (other than
aVR) and that have a typical ischemic time course of development and resolution (progression
of horizontal or downsloping ST depression with exercise, and persistence of depression
of at least -0.10 millivolts for at least 1 minute of recovery); or
2. An upsloping ST junction depression, in the absence of digitalis glycoside therapy
and/or hypokalemia, in any lead (except aVR) of at least -0.2 millivolts or more for
at least 0.08 seconds after the J junction and persisting for at least 1 minute of
3. At least 0.1 millivolt (1 mm) ST elevation above resting baseline during both exercise
and 3 or more minutes of recovery in ECG leads with low R and T waves in the leads
demonstrating the ST segment displacement; or
4. Failure to increase systolic pressure by 10 mmHg, or decrease in systolic pressure
below usual clinical resting level (see 4.00C2b); or
5. Documented reversible radionuclide “perfusion” (thallium201) defect at an exercise level equivalent to 5 METs or less;
B. Impaired myocardial function, documented by evidence (as outlined under 4.00C3
or 4.00C4b) of hypokinetic, akinetic, or dyskinetic myocardial free wall or septal
wall motion with left ventricular ejection fraction of 30 percent or less, and an
evaluating program physician, preferably one experienced in the care of patients with
cardiovascular disease, has concluded that performance of exercise testing would present
a significant risk to the individual, and resulting in marked limitation of physical
activity, as demonstrated by fatigue, palpitation, dyspnea, or anginal discomfort
on ordinary physical activity, even though the individual is comfortable at rest;
C. Coronary artery disease, demonstrated by angiography (obtained independent of Social
Security disability evaluation), and an evaluating program physician, preferably one
experienced in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, has concluded that
performance of exercise testing would present a significant risk to the individual,
with both 1 and 2:
1. Angiographic evidence revealing:
a. 50 percent or more narrowing of a nonbypassed left main coronary artery; or
b. 70 percent or more narrowing of another nonbypassed coronary artery; or
c. 50 percent or more narrowing involving a long (greater than 1 cm) segment of a
nonbypassed coronary artery; or
d. 50 percent or more narrowing of at least 2 nonbypassed coronary arteries; or
e. Total obstruction of a bypass graft vessel; and
2. Resulting in marked limitation of physical activity, as demonstrated by fatigue,
palpitation, dyspnea, or anginal discomfort on ordinary physical activity, even though
the individual is comfortable at rest.
4.05 Recurrent arrhythmias, not related to reversible causes such as electrolyte abnormalities or digitalis glycosides
or antiarrhythmic drug toxicity, resulting in uncontrolled repeated episodes of cardiac
syncope or near syncope and arrhythmia despite prescribed treatment (see 4.00A if
there is no prescribed treatment), documented by resting or ambulatory (Holter) electrocardiography
coincident with the occurrence of syncope or near syncope.
4.06 Symptomatic congenital heart disease (cyanotic or acyanotic), documented by appropriate imaging techniques (as outlined
under 4.00C3) or cardiac catheterization. With one of the following:
A. Cyanosis at rest, and
1. Hematocrit of 55 percent or greater, or
2. Arterial O2 saturation of less than 90 percent in room air, or resting arterial PO2 of 60 Torr or less;
B. Intermittent right-to-left shunting resulting in cyanosis on exertion (e.g., Eisenmenger's
physiology) and with arterial PO2 of 60 Torr or less at a workload equivalent to 5 METs or less;
C. Chronic heart failure with evidence of ventricular dysfunction, as described in
D. Recurrent arrhythmias as described in 4.05;
E. Secondary pulmonary vascular obstructive disease with a mean pulmonary arterial
pressure elevated to at least 70 percent of the mean systemic arterial pressure.
4.07 Valvular heart disease or other stenotic defects, or valvular regurgitation, documented by appropriate imaging techniques or cardiac catheterization. Evaluate
under the criteria in 4.02, 4.04, 4.05, or 11.04.
4.08 Cardiomyopathies, documented by appropriate imaging techniques or cardiac catheterization. Evaluate
under the criteria in 4.02, 4.04, 4.05, or 11.04.
4.09 Cardiac transplantation. Consider under a disability for 1 year following surgery; thereafter, reevaluate
residual impairment under 4.02 to 4.08.
4.10 Aneurysm of aorta or major branches, due to any cause (e.g., atherosclerosis, cystic medial necrosis, Marfan syndrome,
trauma), demonstrated by an appropriate imaging technique. With one of the following:
A. Acute or chronic dissection not controlled by prescribed medical or surgical treatment;
B. Chronic heart failure as described under 4.02;
C. Renal failure as described under 6.02;
D. Neurological complications as described under 11.04.
4.11 Chronic venous insufficiency of a lower extremity. With incompetency or obstruction of the deep venous system
and one of the following:
A. Extensive brawny edema;
B. Superficial varicosities, stasis dermatitis, and recurrent or persistent ulceration
which has not healed following at least 3 months of prescribed medical or surgical
4.12 Peripheral arterial disease. With one of the following:
A. Intermittent claudication with failure to visualize (on arteriogram obtained independent
of Social Security disability evaluation) the common femoral or deep femoral artery
in one extremity;
B. Intermittent claudication with marked impairment of peripheral arterial circulation
as determined by Doppler studies showing:
1. Resting ankle/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio of less than 0.50; or
2. Decrease in systolic blood pressure at the ankle on exercise (see 4.00E4) of 50
percent or more of pre-exercise level at the ankle, and requiring 10 minutes or more
to return to pre-exercise level;
C. Amputation at or above the tarsal region due to peripheral vascular disease.