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Performance on an exercise test predicts the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other causes, reports a study presented today at EuroEcho-Imaging 2018. Good performance on the test equates to climbing three floors of stairs very fast, or four floors fast, without stopping. The findings underline the importance of fitness for longevity.
The study included 12,615 participants with known or suspected coronary artery disease. Participants underwent treadmill exercise echocardiography, in which they were asked to walk or run, gradually increasing the intensity, and continue until exhaustion. Watch a video of the technique here. The test also generates images of the heart to check its function.
During a median 4.7-year follow-up, there were 1,253 cardiovascular deaths, 670 cancer deaths, and 650 deaths from other causes. After adjusting for age, sex, and other factors that could potentially influence the relationship, each MET (metabolic equivalent) achieved was independently associated with 9%, 9%, and 4% lower risks of cardiovascular death, cancer death, and other causes of death during follow-up.
The death rate from cardiovascular disease was nearly three times higher in participants with poor compared to good functional capacity (3.2% versus 1.2%, p