Walk Test Predicts Recurrent Heart Risk

Short walking test may predict heart events in coronary heart disease patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A brief and simple walking test may accurately predict future cardiovascular events in patients with stable coronary heart disease. The test takes only six minutes.

The walking test in combination with traditional risk factors has previously been established as effective for predicting heart events in patients with heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary disease.

"Follow up with a cardiologist regularly if you have heart disease."

Alexis L. Beatty, MD, from the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, found that the simple walking test could predict heart attacks, heart failure or death in patients with stable coronary heart disease.

During the study, 556 patients with stable coronary heart disease were followed beginning in September 2000. The patients were followed for an average of 8 years. During follow up, cardiovascular events including heart attacks, heart failure or death occurred in 218 patients.

Patients who walked the shortest distance, between 87 and 419 meters, during the six minute walking test were found to be four times more likely to experience a cardiovascular event as compared to those who walked the longest distances, or between 544 and 837 meters.

Each 104 meter walking distance decrease was associated with a 55 percent increased rate of heart events or dying. The increased risk was 30 percent after accounting for factors including disease severity.

When traditional risk factors such as hypertension or elevated cholesterol were considered, patients were better classified into the correct risk pool by 39 percent, researchers found.

They concluded that the walking test in combination with a review of traditional risk factors was able to predict cardiovascular events as well as the traditional treadmill exercise capacity test, a lengthier and more vigorous assessment.

The study was recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Review Date: 
July 3, 2012
Last Updated:
July 3, 2012