Exaggerated Exercise Blood Pressure Response During Treadmill Testing as a Predictor of Future Hypertension in Men: A Longitudinal Study

Am J Hypertens. 2015 Nov;28(11):1362-7. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpv036. Epub 2015 Mar 30.


Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate receiver operating characteristic curves to identify optimal cutoff values of exercise systolic blood pressure (SBP) using both peak SBP and relative SBP (peak SBP minus resting SBP) as predictors of future hypertension (HTN).

Methods: Participants were 3,742 healthy normotensive men who underwent symptom-limited treadmill testing at baseline. Incident HTN was defined as SBP/diastolic blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg and/or diagnosed HTN by a physician.

Results: During an average 5-year follow-up, 364 (9.7%) new cases of HTN were observed. The most discriminatory cutoff values for peak SBP and relative SBP for predicting incident HTN were 181 mm Hg (areas under the curve (AUC) = 0.644, sensitivity = 54%, and specificity = 69%) and 52 mm Hg (AUC = 0.549, sensitivity = 64.3%, and specificity = 44.6%), respectively. Participants with peak SBP greater than 181 mm Hg and relative SBP greater than 52 mm Hg had 1.54-fold (95% CI: 1.23-1.93) and 1.44-fold (95% CI: 1.16-1.80) risks of developing HTN after adjusting for potential confounding variables. When these 2 variables were entered simultaneously into the Cox proportional hazards regression model with adjustment for potential confounding variables, only peak SBP (relative risk: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.02-1.89) was a predictor of the development of HTN.

Conclusions: The most accurate discriminators for peak and relative SBP during treadmill exercise testing to predict incident HTN were greater than 181 and 52 mm Hg, respectively, in normotensive men. A peak SBP greater than 181 mm Hg during treadmill exercise testing may provide a useful predictor for the development of HTN in clinical practice.

Keywords: blood pressure; cutoff values; exercise blood pressure; hypertension; incident hypertension..

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / diagnosis
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Hypertension* / physiopathology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • ROC Curve
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors