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Circulation. 1999 Apr 13;99(14):1831-6.

Blood pressure response during treadmill testing as a risk factor for new-onset hypertension. The Framingham heart study.

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  • 1National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, Massachusetts 01702, USA.



Although systolic blood pressure (SBP) response to exercise has been shown to predict subsequent hypertension in small samples of men, this association has not been studied in a large population-based sample of middle-aged men and women. The purpose of this study was to examine, in normotensive subjects, the relations of SBP and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) during the exercise and recovery periods of a graded treadmill test to the risk of developing new-onset hypertension.


BP data from exercise testing in 1026 men and 1284 women (mean age, 42+/-10 years; range, 20 to 69 years) from the Framingham Offspring Study who were normotensive at baseline were related to the incidence of hypertension 8 years later. New-onset hypertension, defined as an SBP >/=140 mm Hg or DBP >/=90 mm Hg or the initiation of antihypertensive drug treatment, occurred in 228 men (22%) and 207 women (16%). Exaggerated SBP (Ex-SBP 2) and DBP (Ex-DBP 2) response and delayed recovery of SBP (R-SBP 3) and DBP (R-DBP 3) were defined as an age-adjusted BP greater than the 95th percentile during the second stage of exercise and third minute of recovery, respectively. After multivariable adjustment, Ex-DBP 2 was highly predictive of incident hypertension in both men (OR, 4.16; 95% CI, 2.15, 8.05) and women (OR, 2.17; CI, 1.19, 3.96). R-SBP 3 was predictive of hypertension in men in a multivariable model that included exercise duration and peak exercise BP (OR, 1.92; CI, 1.00, 3.69). Baseline resting SBP (chi2, 23.4 in men and 34.7 in women) and DBP (chi2, 11.3 in men and 13.1 in women) had stronger associations with new-onset hypertension than exercise DBP (chi2, 16.4 in men and 6.1 in women) and recovery SBP (chi2, 6.5 in men and 2.1 in women) responses.


An exaggerated DBP response to exercise was predictive of risk for new-onset hypertension in normotensive men and women. An elevated recovery SBP was predictive of hypertension in men. These findings may reflect subtle pathophysiological features in the preclinical stage of hypertension.

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