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Exercise blood pressure and the risk of future hypertension


The aim of this prospective cohort study was to identify which blood pressure measurement during exercise is the best predictor of future hypertension. Further we aimed to create a risk chart to facilitate the evaluation of blood pressure reaction during exercise testing. A number (n=1047) of exercise tests by bicycle ergometry, performed in 1996 and 1997 were analysed. In 2007–2008, 606 patients without hypertension at the time of the exercise test were sent a questionnaire aimed to identify current hypertension. The response rate was 58% (n=352). During the 10–12 years between exercise test and questionnaire, 23% developed hypertension. The strongest predictors of future hypertension were systolic blood pressure (SBP) before exercise (odds ratios (OR) 1.63 (1.31–2.01) for 10 mm Hg difference) in combination with the increase of SBP over time during exercise testing (OR 1.12 (1.01–1.24) steeper increase for every 1 mm Hg min−1). A high SBP before exercise and a steep rise in SBP over time represented a higher risk of developing hypertension. A risk chart based on SBP before exercise, increase of SBP over time and body mass index was created. SBP before exercise, maximal SBP during exercise and SBP at 100 W were significant single predictors of future hypertension and the prediction by maximal SBP was improved by adjusting for time/power at which SBP max was reached during exercise testing. Recovery ratio (maximal SBP/SBP 4 min after exercise) was not predictive of future hypertension.

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Correspondence to L Holmqvist.

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Holmqvist, L., Mortensen, L., Kanckos, C. et al. Exercise blood pressure and the risk of future hypertension. J Hum Hypertens 26, 691–695 (2012).

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