Arm exercise testing for coronary artery disease in patients with peripheral vascular disease

Clin Cardiol. 1988 Feb;11(2):70-4. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960110204.


We evaluated 74 peripheral vascular disease (PVD) patients (54 men, age 61 +/- 7 years and 17 women, age 63 +/- 7 years) for potential coronary heart disease (CAD) using an arm exercise test (AET) protocol. All patients performed upright two-arm cranking using discontinuous stages of 2 minutes of exercise separated by 2 minutes of rest. Exercise intensity was increased by +100 or 200 kpm (kilopond meters) with each stage. ECG was monitored continuously and blood pressure and 12-lead ECG tracings were obtained at the end of each exercise stage. All patients reached an endpoint of subjective exhaustion. Men achieved 91 +/- 14% of age-predicted heart rate at 597 +/- 167 kpm, while women achieved 86 +/- 14% of age-predicted heart rate at 335 +/- 117 kpm. Ischemic ECG responses (+AET) defined as new or additional ST depression greater than 1.0 mm X 80 ms, occurred in 35 men (65%) and 7 women (42%). Coronary angiography was performed in a subset of 22 patients (15 males and 7 females). CAD (greater than 70% stenosis) was found in 11 of 12 men and 4 of 5 women who showed positive or strongly positive AET responses (overall predictive value for AET = 88%). We conclude that arm exercise stress testing is safely performed in PVD patients who cannot complete treadmill exercise. In this limited series of PVD patients, the predictive value of a +AET response for diagnosis of CAD is similar to established values for treadmill exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Circulation / drug effects
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology*
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists