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Heart Attack Prevention

2004 Edition

New Research:
Exercise Stress Testing for Predicting Heart Attacks in Women

Nearly two thirds of women who die suddenly of a heart attack have no previous symptoms, so a noninvasive test that can predict cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic women would be a valuable tool for primary prevention. A new study reveals that exercise stress testing may be such a tool.

The researchers collected data on treadmill tests from 2,994 asymptomatic women, age 30 to 80 years. During a follow-up of 20 years, during which 147 women died of cardiovascular disease, the researchers found that women who scored well (above the median) on exercise capacity and heart rate recovery had significantly lower cardiovascular mortality than women who scored poorly (below the median). After adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, the group of women who scored poorly had a 3.5-fold increased risk of cardiovascular death compared with those who scored well. Women who scored well also reported more regular exercise and had more favorable clinical profiles.

In addition to indicating that exercise test results are strong, independent predictors of cardiovascular risk, the study also suggests that women may benefit from higher levels of physical fitness, independent of changes in weight, blood pressure, or lipid levels.

Journal of the American Medical Association
Volume 290, page 1600
September 24, 2003


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Heart Attack Prevention

The Heart Attack Prevention White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Johns Hopkins physicians.



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