A submaximal treadmill exercise test performed before hospital discharge after an uncomplicated myocardial infarction is often utilized to estimate prognosis and guide management, but there is little experience with a maximal exercise test performed 6 months after infarction to identify prognosis later in the convalescent period. The performance characteristics during an exercise test 6 months after myocardial infarction were related to the development of death, recurrent nonfatal myocardial infarction and coronary artery bypass surgery in the subsequent 12 months (that is, 6 to 18 months after infarction) in 473 patients. Mortality was significantly greater in patients who exhibited any of the following: inability to perform the exercise test because of cardiac limitations, the development of ST segment elevation of 1 mm or greater during the exercise test, an inadequate blood pressure response during exercise, the development of any ventricular premature depolarizations during exercise or the recovery period and inability to exercise beyond stage I of the modified Bruce protocol. By utilizing a combination of four high risk prognostic features from the exercise test, it was possible to stratify patients in ternis of risk of mortality, from 1% if none of these features were present to 17% if three or four were present. Recurrent nonfatal myocardial infarction was predicted by an inability to perform the exercise test because of cardiac limitations, but not by any characteristics of exercise test performance. Coronary artery bypass surgery was associated with the development of ST segment depression of 1 mm or greater during the exercise test. Although clinical evidence of angina and heart failure 6 months after infarction was predictive of subsequent mortality among all survivors, among the low risk group without severely limiting cardiac disease, the exercise test provided unique prognostic information not available from clinical assessment alone. Therefore, a maximal exercise test performed 6 months after myocardial infarction is a valuable, noninvasive tool to evaluate prognosis. It provides information that is independent of and additive to clinical evaluation performed at the same time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine