Mayo Clin Proc. 2023 Sep;98(9):1297-1309. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2023.05.029.
OBJECTIVE: To identify specific causes of death and determine the prevalence of noncardiovascular (non-CV) deaths in an exercise test referral population while testing whether exercise test parameters predict non-CV as well as CV deaths.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Non-imaging exercise tests on patients 30 to 79 years of age from September 1993 to December 2010 were reviewed. Patients with baseline CV diseases and non-Minnesota residents were excluded. Mortality through January 2016 was obtained through Mayo Clinic Records and the Minnesota Death Index. Exercise test abnormalities included low functional aerobic capacity (ie, less than 80%), heart rate recovery (ie, less than 13 beats/min), low chronotropic index (ie, less than 0.8), and abnormal exercise electrocardiogram (ECG) of greater than or equal to 1.0 mm ST depression or elevation. We also combined these four abnormalities into a composite exercise test score (EX_SCORE). Statistical analyses consisted of Cox regression adjusted for age, sex, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, current and past smoking, and heart rate-lowering drug.
RESULTS: The study identified 13,382 patients (females: n=4736, 35.4%, 50.5±10.5 years of age). During 12.7±5.0 years of follow-up, there were 849 deaths (6.3%); of these 162 (19.1%) were from CV; 687 (80.9%) were non-CV. Hazard ratios for non-CV death were significant for low functional aerobic capacity (HR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.19 to 1.69; P<.0001), abnormal heart rate recovery (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.15 to 1.61; P<.0033), and low chronotropic index (HR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.26 to 1.77; P<.0001), whereas abnormal exercise ECG was not significant. All exercise test abnormalities including EX_SCORE were more strongly associated with CV death versus non-CV death except abnormal exercise ECG.
CONCLUSION: Non-CV deaths predominated in this primary prevention cohort. Exercise test abnormalities not only predicted CV death but also non-CV death.