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Fitness predicts long-term survival after a cardiovascular event: a prospective cohort study

22 Oct 2015

Objectives

To identify the role of fitness, fitness change, body mass index and other factors in predicting long-term (>5 years) survival in patients with coronary heart disease.

Design

Cohort study of patients with coronary heart disease recruited from 1 January 1993 to 31 December 2002, followed up to March 2011 (1 day to 18 years 3 months, mean 10.7 years).

Setting

A community-based National Health Service (NHS) cardiac rehabilitation programme serving the Basingstoke and Alton area in Hampshire, UK.

Participants

An unselected cohort of NHS patients, 2167 men and 547 women aged 28–88 years, who attended the rehabilitation programme following acute myocardial infarction, an episode of angina or revascularisation, and had a baseline fitness test.

Main outcome measures

Cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality.

Results

A high level of fitness (VO2≥22 mL/kg/min for men, VO2≥19 mL/kg/min for women) at completion of the programme was associated with decreased all-cause death, as was a prescription for statins or aspirin, and female gender. Increase in all-cause mortality was associated with higher age and ACE inhibitors prescription. Higher risk of cardiovascular mortality was associated with increasing age, prescriptions for ACE inhibitor, and diagnosis of myocardial infarction or angina as compared with the other diagnoses.

Conclusions

Prior fitness and fitness improvement are strong predictors of long-term survival in patients who have experienced a cardiac event or procedure. Some secondary prevention medications make a significant contribution to reducing all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality in these patients. This study supports public health messages promoting fitness for life.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open