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.