Objective: To study the association between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and incident stroke types. Patients and Methods: We studied a retrospective cohort of patients referred for treadmill stress testing in the Henry Ford Health System (Henry Ford ExercIse Testing Project) without history of stroke. CRF was expressed by metabolic equivalents of task (METs). Using appropriate International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes, incident stroke was ascertained through linkage with administrative claims files and classified as ischemic, hemorrhagic, and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models examined the association between CRF and incident stroke. Results: Among 67,550 patients, mean ± SD age was 54±13 years, 46% (n=31,089) were women, and 64% (n=43,274) were white. After a median follow-up of 5.4 (interquartile range 2.7-8.5) years, a total of 7512 incident strokes occurred (6320 ischemic, 2481 hemorrhagic, and 275 SAH). Overall, there was a graded lower incidence of stroke with higher MET categories. Patients with METs of 12 or more had lower risk of overall stroke [0.42 (95% CI, 0.36-0.49)], ischemic stroke [0.69 (95% CI, 0.58-0.82)], and hemorrhagic stroke [0.71 (95% CI, 0.52-0.95)]. Conclusion: In a large ethnically diverse cohort of patients referred for treadmill stress testing, CRF is inversely associated with risk for ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
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