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Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2006 Feb;13(1):37-44.

Is exercise testing useful to improve the prediction of coronary events in asymptomatic subjects?

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Département d'Epidémiologie, INSERM U558, CHU Toulouse, France.



The value of exercise testing (ET) in asymptomatic subjects remains controversial and is unknown in countries with a low coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of ET to improve the prediction of a first coronary event in such a population.


Using a prospective cohort study, 1051 consecutive healthy asymptomatic adults were enrolled in a cardiovascular screening program including ET. The pre-test risk of CHD was evaluated by the 10-year Framingham risk function. Positive ET was defined as a horizontal or downsloping ST-segment depression >/=1.0 mm. The primary outcome was total coronary events (CE) occurrence, including cardiac deaths, acute myocardial infarction and stable or unstable angina. The mean follow-up period was 6 years.


Subjects were aged 18-79 years and 36% were women. A total of 89 subjects (8.5%) had a positive ET. Positive exercise testing was associated with CE occurrence in a univariate analysis only in subjects with higher pre-test risk, defined by a 10-year Framingham risk >10.4% [hazards ratio (HR)=2.61; 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.07-6.40)]. In this risk category, ET was able to provide incremental information over the major risk factors in both men and women [risk factor-adjusted HR for positive ET=2.86; 95% CI (1.14-7.20)]. This risk excess in subjects with positive ET persisted even when a coronary revascularization was performed. Subjects with intermediate pre-test probability (10-15%) and positive ET had a post-test probability of CE largely equivalent to the probability in subjects with known CHD.


Additional information provided by ET in subjects with a pre-test risk at 10-years >10% should lead to a more efficient use of risk-reducing therapies than it would be the case in this risk category with the analysis of traditional risk factors only.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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