State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 14214, USA
The relation of maximal exercise systolic pressure to physical conditioning and to mortality was determined in 641 men with > or =1 myocardial infarctions. Each performed a standardized multistage exercise test before randomized assignment either to an exercise group or a control group and at scheduled periodic intervals over 3 years. This study compares 123 men with maximal exercise systolic pressures (MESP) of < or="140" mm hg with 518 men whose maximal exercise systolic pressure was> or =140 mm Hg. At baseline, the 2 groups were comparable for age, entry time since the occurrence of the qualifying cardiac event, and reported use of antihypertensive medications. Men with low MESP used more beta blockers, had lower systolic pressure measurements at rest and by definition at maximal exercise, and lower work capacity than men with higher levels of MESP. Men with low MESP experienced: (1) no reduction in mortality with exercise conditioning (p<0 .86), and (2) a significantly higher mortality rate over 3 years (p<0.003) compared with men with higher levels of mesp. the relation of a low mesp to mortality persisted: (1) whether mesp or work capacity increased from the baseline exercise test to the last performed exercise test, and (2) whether it was measured at low (<6 mets) or high (> or =6 METs) levels of work capacity. We conclude that low maximal exercise systolic blood pressure is a predictor of mortality and is associated with an ineffective training response in men with myocardial infarction.