Coronary risk factors and exercise test performance in asymptomatic hypercholesterolemic men: Application of proportional hazards analysis

David J. Gordon, Jeffrey L. Probstfield, Carl Rubenstein, W. Fraser Bremner, Arthur S. Leon, John M. Karon, Jane Third, Hope Bryan, Leonard Schwartz, William Insull, L. Thomas Shefield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The association of established coronary risk factors with submaximal graded treadmill exercise test performance was examined in 6,850 asymptomatic, white 34-59-year-old hyperchloresterolemic men screened between 1973 and 1976 at 12 North American Lipid Research Clinics for participation in their Coronary Primary Prevention trial. The prevalence of ischemic electrocardiographic responses (≥1 mm S-T segment depression) was 8.6%. The Cox proportional hazards method was adapted so as to take into account the level of exercise at which ischemic responses occurred and to which subjects without ischemic responses were exposed. The results were compared with those obtained by standard logistic regression. In both models, age, blood pressure, plasma cholesterol and (inversely) plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and alcohol consumption were significant independent predictors of an ischemic response to exercise. Surprisingly, ischemic responses were less frequent in smokers than in nonsmokers. However, when the proportional hazards method was used, cigarette smoking was weakly but significantly (p < 0.01) predictive of an ischemic response on the treadmill. Results from this model differed from those of the logistic model because the former takes into account the reduced exercise capacity of smokers which renders them less likely to reach workloads sufficient to induce myocardial ischemia. The proportional hazards model similarly demonstrated a possible beneficial effect of habitual physical activity which was not apparent in the logistic model. Quetelet index and plasma triglyceride were only weakly associated with the probability of an ischemic response, and did not contribute significantly to either model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-224
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1984


  • Coronary disease
  • Exercise test
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Lipids
  • Mathematical models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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