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Synergistic Assessment of Mortality Risk According to Body Mass Index and Exercise Ability and Capacity in Patients Referred for Radionuclide Stress Testing



      To determine the interrelationship between body mass index (BMI), mode of stress testing (exercise or pharmacological), exercise capacity, and all-cause mortality in patients referred for stress-rest single photon emission computed tomography myocardial perfusion imaging.

      Patients and Methods

      We evaluated all-cause mortality in 21,638 patients undergoing stress-rest single photon emission computed tomography myocardial perfusion imaging between January 2, 1991, and December 31, 2012. Patients were divided into exercise and pharmacologically tested groups and 9 BMI categories. The median follow-up was 12.8 years (range, 5.0-26.8 years).


      In exercise patients, mortality was increased with both low and high BMI vs patients with a normal referent BMI of 22.5 to 24.9 kg/m2. In pharmacologically tested patients, only low BMI, but not high BMI, was associated with increased mortality vs normal BMI. When exercise and pharmacologically tested groups were compared directly, pharmacologically tested patients manifested a marked increase in mortality risk vs exercise patients within each BMI category, ranging from an approximately 4-fold increase in mortality in those with normal or high BMI to a 12.3-fold increase in those with low BMI values. Similar findings were observed in a cohort of 4804 exercise and 4804 pharmacologically tested patients matched to have similar age and coronary artery disease risk factor profiles. In exercise patients, further risk stratification was achieved when considering both BMI and metabolic equivalent tasks of achieved exercise.


      The combined assessment of BMI and exercise ability and capacity provides synergistic and marked risk stratification of future mortality risk in patients referred for radionuclide stress testing, providing considerable insights into the “obesity paradox” that is observed in populations referred for stress testing.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      ACM (all-cause mortality), BMI (body mass index), CAD (coronary artery disease), CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness), CVD (cardiovascular disease), HR (hazard ratio), MET (metabolic equivalent task), PA (physical activity)
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