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The Safety of Treadmill Exercise Stress Testing in Patients with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Patricia J. Best, MD; A. Jamil Tajik, MD; Raymond J. Gibbons, MD; and Patricia A. Pellikka, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. Acknowledgment: The authors thank Douglas Mahoney, MS, for his assistance with this study. Requests for Reprints: Patricia A. Pellikka, MD, Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic, W16A, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905. Current Author Addresses: Drs. Best, Gibbons, Tajik, and Pellikka: Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(8):628-631. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-129-8-199810150-00008
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Background: Exercise stress testing in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms may cause enlargement or rupture of aneurysms.

Objective: To evaluate the safety of treadmill exercise stress testing in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Design: Retrospective descriptive study.

Setting: Tertiary care center.

Patients: 262 patients who had abdominal aortic aneurysms more than 4 cm in diameter and underwent treadmill exercise stress testing.

Measurements: Pain after stress testing, rupture of the aneurysm or death, aneurysm size, and exercise stress test results.

Results: The average aneurysm diameter was 5.5 ± 1.1 cm. One patient with a 6.1-cm aneurysm was found to have a contained rupture 12 hours after stress testing. The event rate for aneurysm rupture was 0.4% (95% CI, 0.0% to 2.1%). No deaths or other negative outcomes were documented.

Conclusion: Despite theoretical concerns, exercise stress testing of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms seems to be safe and is associated with a low incidence of acute adverse events.


Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1.
Distribution of the cross-sectional diameter of abdominal aortic aneurysms at the time of exercise stress testing.

Numbers above the bars are the number of patients in each group.

Grahic Jump Location




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