Blood pressure responses during exercise testing-is up best for prognosis?

Ann Med. 2012 May;44(3):218-24. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2011.560180. Epub 2011 Feb 24.


Exercise testing is not limited to observation of ischemic electrocardiographic findings during exercise, but also abnormal findings in blood pressure, heart rate, and exercise capacity are valuable. Individuals with exaggerated exercise blood pressure tend to develop future hypertension. Extensive elevation in systolic blood pressure during exercise has been found to increase the risk of left ventricular hypertrophy, myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular stroke, and cardiovascular death. Previous studies have revealed that blood pressure response to exercise is dependent on underlying heart disease and peripheral resistance. Therefore, subjects with documented cardiovascular disease may not be capable of generating a work-load to allow the manifestation of exercise-induced systolic hypertension. Systolic hypotension during exercise is associated with left ventricular dysfunction and inadequate cardiac output, and it is a marker of severe heart disease. Exercise testing with the definition of blood pressure can be performed in a logical way with test results used to decide on therapies and treatment strategies in addition to blood pressure at rest. A modest increment in blood pressure rise corresponding to work-load achieved during the exercise testing is the best sign from the prognostic point of view. The normal limits of exercise blood pressure response could be very helpful for clinicians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Exercise Test*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Risk