Exercise: a risk for sudden death in patients with coronary heart disease

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1986 Jan;7(1):215-9. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(86)80284-4.


Although sudden arrhythmic death is usually unrelated to exertion, there is more than anecdotal evidence that strenuous exercise in patients with coronary heart disease carries an additional risk for sudden death. When cardiac arrest has been observed after exercise stress testing or within seconds after collapse associated with exertion, ventricular fibrillation has usually been present and has responded to the prompt application of a defibrillatory shock. Exertion-related cardiac arrest is typically a "primary" arrhythmic event not due to acute myocardial infarction. As estimated here, the additional risk of exercise for cardiac arrest may be more than 100-fold during or after a few minutes of vigorous exertion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coronary Disease / complications*
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy / adverse effects
  • Heart Arrest / etiology
  • Heart Arrest / physiopathology
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology
  • Heart Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Risk
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / complications
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / physiopathology