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Prognostic capacity of a clinically indicated exercise test for cardiovascular mortality is enhanced by combined analysis of exercise capacity, heart rate recovery and T-wave alternans

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1162-1170
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Background Exercise capacity, heart rate recovery and T-wave alternans are independent predictors of cardiovascular mortality. We tested whether these parameters contain supplementary prognostic information. Methods A total of 3609 consecutive patients (2157 men) referred for a routine, clinically indicated bicycle exercise test were enrolled in the Finnish Cardiovascular Study (FINCAVAS). Exercise capacity was measured in metabolic equivalents, heart rate recovery as the decrease in heart rate from maximum to one minute post-exercise, and T-wave alternans by time-domain Modified Moving Average method. Results During 57-month median follow-up (interquartile range 35-78 months), 96 patients died of cardiovascular causes (primary endpoint) and 233 from any cause. All three parameters were independent predictors of cardiovascular mortality when analysed as continuous variables. Adding metabolic equivalents (p < 0.001), heart rate recovery (p = 0.002) or T-wave alternans (p = 0.01) to the linear model improved its predictive power for cardiovascular mortality. The combination of low exercise capacity (<6 metabolic equivalents), reduced heart rate recovery (≤12 beats/min) and elevated T-wave alternans ( ≥60μ4V) yielded the highest hazard ratio for cardiovascular mortality of 16.5 (95% confidence interval 4.0-67.7, p < 0.001). Harrells C index was 0.719 (confidence interval 0.665-0.772) for cardiovascular mortality with previously defined cutpoints (<8 units for metabolic equivalents≤18 beats/min for heart rate recovery and≤ge;60μV for T-wave alternans). Conclusion The prognostic capacity of the clinical exercise test is enhanced by combined analysis of exercise capacity, heart rate recovery and T-wave alternans.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland