Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the predictive value of clinical and exercise test variables in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Methods: A customized symptom-limited ramp treadmill protocol was used to assess 725 PAD patients referred for exercise testing at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital between 1997 and 2011. Detailed clinical and exercise test data were collected at baseline, and patients were followed up for a mean of 11.3 ± 6.3 years. Results: During follow-up, there were 364 deaths. Baseline exercise capacity was 7.0 ± 2.6 metabolic equivalents (METs) among survivors and 5.5 ± 2.4 METs in those who died (P <.001). Although several physiologic parameters differed between survivors and nonsurvivors, age-adjusted Cox regression revealed that exercise capacity was the strongest independent predictor of death. Each additional MET achieved was associated with age-adjusted 18% and 20% reductions in all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively (P <.001 for both). This variable surpassed all classical risk factors (including smoking and history of congestive heart failure) and all measured exercise test responses (including symptoms and electrocardiograph abnormalities). Conclusions: Among PAD patients, reduced exercise capacity is the most powerful harbinger of long-term mortality. This factor has predictive power beyond traditional risk factors and confirms the critical importance of fitness in this cohort.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine