Yan Xie, Hong Xian, Pooja Chandiramani, Emily Bainter, Leping Wan, and Wade H Martin, III
Open Heart

Arm exercise stress testing may be an equivalent or better predictor of mortality outcome than pharmacological stress imaging for the ≥50% for patients unable to perform leg exercise. Thus, our objective was to develop an arm exercise ECG stress test scoring system, analogous to the Duke Treadmill Score, for predicting outcome in these individuals.

In this retrospective observational cohort study, arm exercise ECG stress tests were performed in 443 consecutive veterans aged 64.1 (11.1) years. (mean (SD)) between 1997 and 2002. From multivariate Cox models, arm exercise scores were developed for prediction of 5-year and 12-year all-cause and cardiovascular mortality and 5-year cardiovascular mortality or myocardial infarction (MI).

Arm exercise capacity in resting metabolic equivalents (METs), 1 min heart rate recovery (HRR) and ST segment depression ≥1 mm were the stress test variables independently associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality by step-wise Cox analysis (all p<0.01). A score based on the relation HRR (bpm)+7.3×METs−10.5×ST depression (0=no; 1=yes) prognosticated 5-year cardiovascular mortality with a C-statistic of 0.81 before and 0.88 after adjustment for significant demographic and clinical covariates. Arm exercise scores for the other outcome end points yielded C-statistic values of 0.77–0.79 before and 0.82–0.86 after adjustment for significant covariates versus 0.64–0.72 for best fit pharmacological myocardial perfusion imaging models in a cohort of 1730 veterans who were evaluated over the same time period.

Arm exercise scores, analogous to the Duke Treadmill Score, have good power for prediction of mortality or MI in patients who cannot perform leg exercise.

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