Exercise capacity, as measured in terms of VO2max, is a powerful predictor of death in patients with coronary artery disease, not just patients with heart failure. That is the finding of Mayo Clinic research presented today at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions 2005 in Dallas.
VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen a person can take in during exercise. In a VO2max study, a patient walks on a treadmill for about 5 to 15 minutes and breathes through a valve; the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the expired air are measured. Results are given in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min).
"The best predictor of survival in cardiac patients is their capacity for exercise," says Thomas Allison, Ph.D., the lead author of the study, who is from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "When we considered all of the measurable clinical variables -- such as whether they had bypass surgery or whether they have diabetes or high blood pressure -- the patients capacity for exercise as measured by VO2max stood clear as the best predictor for 10-year survival."
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