Triggers of acute cardiovascular events and potential preventive strategies: prophylactic role of regular exercise

Phys Sportsmed. 2011 Nov;39(4):11-21. doi: 10.3810/psm.2011.11.1934.


There is now considerable evidence to suggest that acute myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death, and stroke can be triggered by physical, chemical, and psychological stressors, including heavy physical exertion and situations that create heightened emotional stress. The increased risk appears to be largely limited to a susceptible subset of the population, that is, individuals with known or occult cardiovascular (CV) disease. In this article, we summarize the evidence supporting the impact of selected triggers in the pathogenesis of acute CV events, as well as the potential role of various preventive strategies, especially regular exercise training and improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness to reduce the CV risk imposed by various triggers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological*