Aim and methods: The outcome of 1999 apparently healthy men, aged 40-59 years, initially investigated in the period 1972-1975, has previously been ascertained at 7 and 16 year follow-ups. This has now been repeated after 21 years, to determine whether seated systolic blood pressure (BP) during a bicycle ergometer exercise test adds prognostic information on cardiovascular (CV) mortality beyond that of systolic BP measured after 5 min of supine rest.
Results: After 21 years, 41 979 years of observation, 470 patients had died, 255 from CV causes. Supine systolic BP [2 SD increase: relative risk (RR) 1.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-2.0, P < 0.0001], 6 min exercise systolic BP (2 SD increase: RR 1.6, 95% CI 1.3-2.0, P < 0.0001) on the starting workload of 600 kpm/min (approximately 100 W, 5880 J/min) and maximal systolic BP (2 SD increase: RR 1.5, 95% CI 1.2-1.9, P = 0.0005) during work were all related to CV mortality when adjusting for a large number of variables measured in the present study including age, exercise capacity, heart rates, smoking habits, glucose tolerance and serum cholesterol. When including other systolic BPs in the continuous multivariate analysis, supine systolic BP (2 SD increase: RR 1.4, 95% CI 1.04-1.9, P = 0.029) and 6 min systolic BP at 600 kpm/min (2 SD increase: RR 1.4, 95% CI 1.06-1.9, P = 0.017) were independent predictors of CV death but not maximal systolic BP during exercise (2 SD increase: RR 1.0, 95% CI 0.7-1.2, P = 0.95).
Conclusion: These results are different from the mortality data at 16 years, when the independent predictive effect of supine systolic BP was cancelled out by 6 min exercise systolic BP at 600 kpm/min. Twenty-one years of follow-up of 1999 apparently healthy men disclose independently predictive information on CV death, of both supine systolic BP and 6 min exercise systolic BP taken at an early moderate workload. The influence of maximal exercise systolic BP on CV death is however cancelled out by the two other systolic BPs.