Prediction of the frequency and duration of ambulatory myocardial ischemia in patients with stable coronary artery disease by determination of the ischemic threshold from exercise testing: importance of the exercise protocol

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1991 Mar 1;17(3):657-63. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(10)80180-9.


The relation between ambulatory myocardial ischemia and the results of exercise testing in patients with ischemic heart disease remains undefined, because of the dissimilar results of previous reports. To further investigate this issue and, in particular, to ascertain the importance of the exercise protocol in determining that relation, 70 patients with stable coronary artery disease underwent 48 h ambulatory electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring and treadmill exercise tests after withdrawal of medications. Patients exercised using two different protocols with slow (National Institutes of Health [NIH] combined protocol) and brisk (Bruce protocol) work load increments. Exercise duration was longer with the NIH combined protocol (14.1 +/- 5 versus 6.8 +/- 2 min; p less than 0.0001), but the maximal work load and peak heart rate achieved were greater with the Bruce protocol (9.8 +/- 2 versus 6.5 +/- 2 METs, and 142 +/- 19 versus 133 +/- 22 beats/min, respectively; p less than 0.0001). A close inverse correlation between exercise testing and the results of ambulatory ECG monitoring was observed using the NIH combined protocol; the strongest correlation was observed between time of exercise at 1 mm of ST segment depression and number of ischemic episodes (r = -0.86; p less than 0.0001). With the Bruce protocol a significantly weaker inverse correlation was found (r = -0.35). The mean heart rate at the onset of ST segment depression was similar during monitoring and during exercise testing with the NIH combined protocol (97.2 +/- 13 versus 101.0 +/- 17 beats/min, respectively) but it was significantly higher (110.4 +/- 13) when using the Bruce protocol (p less than 0.001).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology*
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged