MAR 11, 2015 1:58 PM PDT

Dying to workout? Treadmill test might offer prediction

WRITTEN BY: Will Hector
Cardiologists can now estimate your risk of dying in the next 10 years based solely on how well you keep moving on an accelerating treadmill.

Several exercise-based risk scoring systems already measure short-term risk of dying, but those systems are designed for patients with established heart disease or overt signs of cardiovascular trouble. They also factor in additional tests, including electrocardiograms.

By contrast, the new algorithm-dubbed the FIT Treadmill Score-gauges long-term death risk in anyone based only on treadmill exercise performance.
FIT score

"The notion that being in good physical shape portends lower death risk is by no means new," says lead investigator Haitham Ahmed, a cardiology fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"But we wanted to quantify that risk precisely by age, gender, and fitness level, and do so with an elegantly simple equation that requires no additional fancy testing beyond the standard stress test."

The FIT score could yield valuable clues about patients' health if calculated for the millions who undergo cardiac stress testing in the United States each year, researchers say.

"The FIT Treadmill Score is easy to calculate and costs nothing beyond the cost of the treadmill test itself," says senior study author Michael Blaha, director of clinical research at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.

"We hope the score will become a mainstay in cardiologists' and primary clinicians' offices as a meaningful way to illustrate risk among those who undergo cardiac stress testing and propel people with poor results to become more physically active."
Exercise stress tests

Exercise stress tests are commonly used now to determine who needs invasive cardiac testing and to inform treatment decisions. They measure how well the heart and lungs respond to physical exertion while a person is walking on a treadmill at progressively higher speeds and inclines.

The test is stopped once a person reaches the point of exhaustion or develops chest pain, dizziness, or heart rhythm abnormalities.

Those who have abnormal electrocardiogram tracings during exercise or who develop symptoms suggestive of abnormal heart strain during the test are referred for an angiography, an invasive procedure to examine the interior of the heart's main blood vessels.

Those with normal EKG readings and no alarming symptoms while exercising are said to have "normal" results and typically do not get further testing.
A spectrum disorder

However, the new study, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, shows there are varying degrees of fitness among those with "normal" stress test results. That data reveals telling clues about overall death risk over time.

"Stress test results are currently interpreted as ‘either/or' but we know that heart disease is a spectrum disorder," Ahmed says. "We believe that our FIT score reflects the complex nature of cardiovascular health and can offer important insights to both clinicians and patients."

The researchers analyzed information on 58,020 people from Detroit, ages 18 to 96, who had standard exercise stress tests between 1991 and 2009 for evaluation of chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, or dizziness.

The researchers tracked how many of the participants within each fitness level died from any cause over the next decade. Among people of the same age and gender, fitness level and peak heart rate were the greatest indicators of death risk.

Source: Futurity.org
About the Author
  • Will Hector practices psychotherapy at Heart in Balance Counseling Center in Oakland, California. He has substantial training in Attachment Theory, Hakomi Body-Centered Psychotherapy, Psycho-Physical Therapy, and Formative Psychology. To learn more about his practice, click here: http://www.heartinbalancetherapy.com/will-hector.html
You May Also Like
MAR 14, 2021
Immunology
How Are Allergies Developed?
MAR 14, 2021
How Are Allergies Developed?
You might have experienced it yourself or met someone that can not eat a certain food or can not take a specific medicat ...
MAR 04, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Is the Cancer Treatment Working? Liquid Biopsies Provide Answers.
MAR 04, 2021
Is the Cancer Treatment Working? Liquid Biopsies Provide Answers.
A newly-developed tool could help physicians monitor the performance of colorectal cancer therapies simply by examining ...
MAR 17, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
A Critical Step in the Development of Brain Disease is ID'ed
MAR 17, 2021
A Critical Step in the Development of Brain Disease is ID'ed
Some brain diseases including mad cow disease and the human version Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Kuru, and fatal fam ...
MAR 21, 2021
Microbiology
Potent Drug Rapidly Clears Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea in Mouse Model
MAR 21, 2021
Potent Drug Rapidly Clears Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea in Mouse Model
A mouse model has shown that it's possible to clear a multi-drug resistant gonorrhea with only one dose of antibioti ...
MAR 24, 2021
Cardiology
Supplement Can Prevent Strokes in Patients with Rare Disease
MAR 24, 2021
Supplement Can Prevent Strokes in Patients with Rare Disease
Scientists have found that it may be possible for people with a rare genetic disorder to prevent fatal strokes by taking ...
MAR 26, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
New 'Bio-ink' Gets 3D-Printed Organs Closer to Reality
MAR 26, 2021
New 'Bio-ink' Gets 3D-Printed Organs Closer to Reality
For the many people waiting for transplants, 3D-printed organs can't come soon enough. Researchers have been making stri ...
Loading Comments...