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Comparative Study
, 83 (3), 866-74

Heart Rate Adjustment of Exercise-Induced ST Segment Depression. Improved Risk Stratification in the Framingham Offspring Study

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Comparative Study

Heart Rate Adjustment of Exercise-Induced ST Segment Depression. Improved Risk Stratification in the Framingham Offspring Study

P M Okin et al. Circulation.

Abstract

Background: Simple heart rate adjustment of ST segment depression during exercise (delta ST/HR index) and the pattern of ST depression as a function of heart rate during exercise and recovery (the rate-recovery loop) have been shown to improve the ability of the exercise electrocardiogram to detect the presence of coronary heart disease (CHD), but the performance of these methods for the prediction of future coronary events remains to be examined.

Methods and results: We compared the delta ST/HR index and the rate-recovery loop with standard electrocardiographic criteria for prediction of CHD events in 3,168 asymptomatic men and women in the Framingham Offspring Study who underwent treadmill exercise electrocardiography and who, at entry, were free of clinical and electrocardiographic evidence of CHD. After a mean follow-up of 4.3 years, there were 65 new CHD events: four sudden deaths, 24 new myocardial infarctions, and 37 incident cases of angina pectoris. When a Cox proportional hazards model with adjustment for age and sex was used, a positive exercise electrocardiogram by standard criteria (greater than or equal to 0.1 mV horizontal or downsloping ST segment depression) was not predictive of new CHD events (chi 2 = 0.40, p = 0.52). In contrast, stratification according to the presence or absence of a positive delta ST/HR index (greater than or equal to 1.6 microV/beat/min) and a positive (counterclockwise) rate-recovery loop was associated with CHD event risk (chi 2 = 9.45, p less than 0.01) and separated subjects into three groups with varying risks of coronary events: high risk, when both tests were positive (relative risk 3.6; 95% confidence interval, 2.4-5.4); intermediate risk, when either the delta ST/HR index or the rate-recovery loop was positive (relative risk, 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-2.8); and low risk, when both tests were negative. After multivariate adjustment for age, sex, smoking, total cholesterol level, fasting glucose level, diastolic blood pressure, and electrocardiographic evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy, the combined delta ST/HR index and rate-recovery loop criteria remained predictive of coronary events (chi 2 = 5.45, p = 0.02).

Conclusions: Heart rate adjustment of ST segment depression by the delta ST/HR index and the rate-recovery loop during exercise electrocardiography can improve prediction of future coronary events in asymptomatic men and women.

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