Angiographic and prognostic implications of an exaggerated exercise systolic blood pressure response and rest systolic blood pressure in adults undergoing evaluation for suspected coronary artery disease
OBJECTIVES: This study was designed to assess the angiographic and prognostic implications of an exaggerated systolic blood pressure response to exercise ("exercise hypertension") in adults undergoing evaluation for suspected coronary artery disease. BACKGROUND: The clinical implications of exercise hypertension are unclear. METHODS: Subjects for this prospective cohort study were derived from a consecutive sample of 9,608 adults who were referred for treadmill testing and who augmented their systolic blood pressure by at least 10 mm Hg. There were 594 subjects who underwent coronary angiography within 90 days of treadmill testing. Exercise hypertension was defined as a peak exercise systolic blood pressure > or = 210 mm Hg in men and > or = 190 mm Hg in women. Severe angiographic coronary disease was defined as left main coronary artery disease (> or = 50% diameter stenosis), three-vessel disease (> or = 70% diameter stenosis) or two-vessel disease with > or = 70% diameter stenosis of the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery. All-cause mortality was assessed during a follow-up period of approximately 2 years. RESULTS: Exercise hypertension was present in 196 subjects (33%). Severe coronary disease was less common in subjects with exercise hypertension (14% vs. 25%, odds ratio 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.32 to 0.81, p = 0.004). Exercise hypertension remained associated with a lower rate of severe coronary disease even after adjusting for rest hypertension, age, gender, exercise capacity and other possible confounders. During the follow-up period, there were 23 deaths; only 2 occurred in the group with exercise hypertension. After adjusting for severity of coronary disease, exercise hypertension remained associated with a lower mortality rate (adjusted relative risk 0.20, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.84, p = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: In adults evaluated for coronary artery disease, exercise hypertension is associated with a lower likelihood of angiographically severe disease and a lower adjusted mortality rate.