Systolic blood pressure, the upper number in a blood-pressure reading, during the recovery period after exercise stress testing may help predict the risk of heart attack in men, according to a report in the journal Hypertension.
“Systolic blood pressure during recovery provides an incremental value to systolic blood pressure measured at rest,” Dr. Jari A. Laukkanen from University of Kuopio, Finland told Reuters Health. Laukkanen and colleagues investigated the usefulness of measuring systolic blood pressure after a standardized cycle ergometer exercise test in predicting the risk of future heart attack among 2336 men between the ages of 42 and 61 years old. Systolic blood pressure greater than 195 mm Hg after two minutes of recovery was associated with a 1.7-fold increased risk of heart attack, the report indicates. Each 10 mm Hg increase after two minutes of recovery was associated with a 7-percent increased risk of heart attack. Men with the greatest difference in systolic blood pressure between rest and recovery had a 39-percent higher risk of heart attack than did men with the smallest difference, the researchers note. Increased systolic blood pressure during exercise recovery “may help identify patients with slightly raised resting systolic blood pressure where lifestyle changes may be recommended,” Laukkanen said. This information can also be added to conventional risk factors, such as ECG changes and chest pain, observed during exercise testing, Laukkanen said. (Source: Hypertension: Reuters Health: Will Boggs, MD: December 2004.)