Safety of Exercise Testing in the Clinical Chinese Population

Yaoshan Dun, Thomas P. Olson, Jeffrey W. Ripley-Gonzalez, Kangling Xie, Wenliang Zhang, Ying Cai, Yuan Liu, Yanan Shen, Nanjiang Zhou, Xun Gong, Suixin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This 18-year cross-sectional study was conducted to provide data on the safety of exercise testing in the clinical Chinese population. We retrospectively identified exercise tests completed at Xiangya Hospital of Central South University from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2019. From 43,130 unique individuals (50.9% female), a total of consecutive 50,142 tests (standard exercise testing 29,466; cardiopulmonary exercise testing 20,696) were retrieved. Demographics, patients' medical history, exercise testing characteristics, and exercise testing-related adverse events were described. Safety data is expressed as the number of adverse events per 10,000 tests, with 95% confidence interval. The average patients' age was 51 ± 13 years. The majority of patients were diagnosed with at least one disease (N = 44,941, 89.6%). Tests were maximal or symptom-limited. Common clinical symptoms included dizziness (6,822, 13.6%), chest pain or distress (2,760, 5.5%), and musculoskeletal limitations (2,507, 5.0%). Out of 50,142 tests, three adverse events occurred, including one sustained ventricular tachycardia, one sinus arrest with junctional escape rhythm at a rate of 28 bpm, and one syncopal event with fecal and urinary incontinence. The rate of adverse events was 0.8 events per 10,000 tests (95% confidence interval, 0.2–3.0) in men, 0.4 per 10,000 tests (0.7–2.2) in women, and 0.6 per 10,000 tests (0.21.8) total. This study represents the largest dataset analysis of exercise testing in the clinical Chinese population. Our results demonstrate that clinical exercise testing is safe, and the low rate of adverse events related to exercise testing might be due to the overall changes in clinical practice over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number638682
JournalFrontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 9 2021


  • cardiopulmonary exercise testing
  • cardiovascular disease
  • clinical Chinese population
  • exercise testing
  • safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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