Research Article

Role of exercise testing early after myocardial infarction in identifying candidates for coronary surgery.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 21 January 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:185
  1. K Jennings,
  2. D S Reid,
  3. T Hawkins,
  4. D J Julian


    It has been suggested that ST depression in lead V5 or equivalent on early exercise testing after acute myocardial infarction predicts a high risk of death. To evaluate exercise testing and radionuclide ventriculography in this context 103 consecutive patients with myocardial infarction who were able to undertake a limited exercise test before discharge from hospital were exercised and underwent gated blood pool scanning. No serious complications resulted from exercise testing. Twenty nine patients developed ST depression in lead V5, 19 had exertional hypotension, 31 developed a heart rate of greater than or equal to 130 beats/min, and 15 had complex ventricular arrhythmias. Death during the first year after discharge from hospital was associated with exertional hypotension (p less than 0.001) and a heart rate on exercise testing of greater than or equal to 130 beats/min (p less than 0.05); these two variables identified all nine deaths. Inability to complete the exercise protocol for any reason was also predictive of death (p less than 0.01). Ventricular arrhythmias and ST depression in lead V5 induced by exercise were not significantly associated with an increased risk of death. The mean (SD) radionuclide ejection fraction in the patients who died was 29 (16%) compared with 43 (11)% in the patients who survived (p less than 0.001). ST changes on exercise testing after myocardial infarction appear to be less predictive of later complications than haemodynamic signs, which may indicate left ventricular damage rather than ischaemia.