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Clinical outcomes vary between the Shuttle Walk Test and Stress Test in patients with coronary artery disease

Nov. 24, 2021

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine if the Incremental Shuttle Walk Test (ISWT) can elicit similar patient responses as a treadmill stress test in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).

Methods

Both the stress test and the ISWT were performed by 172 participants, aged 60.67±10.23 years. We screened participants for unstable angina, severe aortic stenosis, uncontrolled hypertension, and excluded if unable to walk on a treadmill. Outcome measures (signs and symptoms) included: i) patient-reported chest pain; ii) patient-reported breathlessness/exhaustion and not being able to keep up with test protocol; and iii) able to reach target HRmax. Additionally, EKG changes during the stress test were monitored for ST changes or arrhythmias.

Results

During the stress test, 15 participants reported chest pain, 23 participants reached target HRmax. No participants reported chest pain and 2 participants reached target HRmax during the ISWT. Participants reporting chest pain had a higher mean BMI and significant difference in METS (p < 0.001) during the stress test and walking distance (p = 0.03) when compared with patients who did not report chest pain during the stress test. Breathlessness and not being able to keep up with protocol were the most commonly reported in both tests. Changes in EKG were observed in 38 participants in the stress test.

Conclusion

A maximal effort stress test is better at eliciting ischemic signs and symptoms and a superior tool for diagnosis of progression or severity of CAD than the ISWT. Appropriate selection of exercise tests is important in the clinical setting.

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