Use of functional aerobic capacity based on stress testing to predict outcomes in normal, overweight, and obese patients

Muaz Abudiab, Bilal Aijaz, Tomas Konecny, Stephen L. Kopecky, Ray W. Squires, Randal J. Thomas, Thomas G. Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the poorly studied relationship between functional aerobic capacity (FAC) as measured by treadmill stress testing and mortality in normal, overweight, and obese patients. Patients and Methods: Patients were identified retrospectively from the stress testing database at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. We selected 5328 male nonsmokers (mean ± SD age, 51.8±11.5 years) without baseline cardiovascular disease who were referred for treadmill exercise testing between January 1, 1986, and December 31, 1991, and classified them by body mass index (BMI) into normal-weight (18.5-24.9 kg/m2), overweight (25.0-29.9 kg/m2), and obese (≥30 kg/m2) categories. Functional aerobic capacity was assessed by maximal exercise test results based on age-and sex-specific metabolic equivalents, and patients were stratified into fitness quintiles. Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to determine the relationship of all-cause mortality to fitness in each BMI category. Results: There were 322 deaths during 14 years of follow-up. After adjustment for age and exercise confounders, FAC predicted mortality in the 3 BMI groups. Hazard ratios for FAC less than 80% of predicted vs a reference group with normal BMI and fitness (FAC ≥100%) were 1.754 (95% CI, 0.874-3.522), 1.962 (1.356-2.837), and 1.518 (1.056-2.182) for the normal, overweight, and obese groups, respectively. The CIs of the hazard ratios overlapped with no statistically significant differences (P≥.05). Conclusion: A significant increase in mortality occurs with FAC below 80% of predicted for overweight and obese subjects and below 70% for normal weight subjects. Our results suggest that clinicians need not adjust the standard for low fitness in obese patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1427-1434
Number of pages8
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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