Seventy four patients (66 men, eight women; mean age 54.3 years) underwent submaximal exercise testing 7-23 days (mean 10.7) after acute myocardial infarction. Follow up was a mean period of 11.3 months. When compared with patients with no exercise induced abnormality, ST segment elevation, ST shift (depression or elevation or both), ST depression, inability to complete five metabolic equivalents, and inadequate blood pressure response to exercise were predictive of subsequent cardiac events (cardiac death, left ventricular failure, recurrent myocardial infarction, angina). When the presence or absence of specific variables was assessed, only ST elevation and ST shift predicted subsequent cardiac events. The presence of exercise induced ST elevation was the only exercise test variable which predicted cardiac death. ST segment elevation was, therefore, the exercise induced abnormality which best predicted the risk of future complications.
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