Background: This study examined whether cardiorespiratory fitness is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, and all-cause mortality in a low- to middle-income Trinidadian community of African, South Asian Indian, and European origin. Those of Indian descent have a distinctively high rate of myocardial infarction.
Methods: The St James Study is a prospective total community survey located in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies. A random sample of 626 men aged 35-69 years, without angina of effort, previous myocardial infarction, partial or complete atrio-ventricular conduction defect, complete heart block, or exercise-induced asthma, was used for the assessment of cardiorespiratory fitness by cycle ergometry. Surveillance for morbidity and mortality was maintained for an average of 7.3 years.
Results: When the subjects were grouped into those with an age- and fat-free mass-adjusted peak oxygen uptake above and below the mean of 60.4 mmol/min (1.34 l/min), the hazard ratios (below/above) (95% confidence interval) for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease incidence, and incidence of myocardial infarction, after allowance for conventional cardiovascular risk factors, were 2.08 (1.23-3.52), 2.13 (1.22-3.69), and 2.36 (0.84-6.67), respectively. For those unable to achieve a level of work requiring an oxygen uptake of 67 mmol/min (1.5 l/min) during progressive exercise, the respective hazard ratios were 3.49 (1.57-7.76), 2.29 (1.21-4.33), and 5.45 (1.22-24.34). Indian ethnicity remained a predictor of myocardial infarction after allowance for cardiorespiratory performance.
Conclusion: Low cardiorespiratory fitness is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality in the low- to middle-income developing community of Trinidad.