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Circ Heart Fail. 2009 Jul;2(4):278-86. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.108.807826. Epub 2009 May 13.

Value of exercise treadmill testing in the risk stratification of patients with pulmonary hypertension.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.



The ability of the Naughton-Balke exercise treadmill test, an objective indicator of exercise capacity, to predict abnormal hemodynamics and mortality in pulmonary hypertension is unknown.


We performed a cohort study of 603 patients with pulmonary hypertension from 1982 to 2006, and studied the utility of exercise treadmill test as a predictor of abnormal hemodynamics and death. We used multivariable linear regression to determine whether exercise capacity, measured in metabolic equivalents, was associated with abnormal hemodynamics, and we used a Cox proportional hazards model to determine whether decreased exercise capacity predicted death. Mean age was 50+/-15 years, 76% were women, 63% had World Health Organization category I pulmonary arterial hypertension, and 23% were World Health Organization functional classes I and II. Mean exercise capacity was 3.7+/-2.2 metabolic equivalents. Decreased exercise capacity was independently associated with elevated right atrial and mean pulmonary artery pressure, decreased cardiac index, and increased pulmonary vascular resistance. During median follow-up of 4.6 years, 36% of the patients died. Decreased exercise capacity was associated with mortality (multivariable hazard ratio, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.37 for each 1-metabolic equivalent decrease in exercise capacity; P=0.031; P=0.052 after adjusting for invasive hemodynamic variables). Decreased exercise capacity also predicted mortality in functional classes I-II patients, 24% of whom died (hazard ratio, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.04 to 2.26 for each 1-metabolic equivalent decrease in exercise capacity; P=0.032), although this association did not persist after adjusting for invasive hemodynamic variables (P=0.63).


Reduced exercise capacity on exercise treadmill test is associated with worse hemodynamics and is a predictor of mortality in patients with pulmonary hypertension.

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