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      Reproducibility of Treadmill Exercise Data in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

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          Serial submaximal treadmill tests are often used to evaluate the efficacy of therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation. Since the response to serial tests can be influenced by a ‘learning phenomenon’, we performed maximal exercise tests on 9 patients (mean age 63 ± 4 years) with chronic atrial fibrillation. Points of analysis for the initial and follow-up treadmill exercise tests were 3 mph/0% grade, the gas exchange anaerobic threshold, and maximal exertion. Significant (p < 0.05) reductions in ventilation (l/min) and oxygen uptake (ml/kg/min) were observed on follow-up at a standard submaximal work load of 3.0 mph/0% grade and at the gas exchange anaerobic threshold. There was no significant alteration in these variables at maximal exertion. A reduction in heart rate was observed throughout exercise during the follow-up test with the most marked reduction (21 beats/min) occurring at 3.0 mph/0% grade. There were no differences in respiratory exchange ratio or systolic blood pressure at any point. The reduction in submaximal heart rate and gas exchange variables without a significant change in these variables at maximal exertion is consistent with a learning effect. Therefore, studies comparing consecutive submaximal exercise test responses in patients with atrial fibrillation can be misleading.

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          Author and article information

          S. Karger AG
          11 November 2008
          : 76
          : 3
          : 234-242
          Cardiology Section, Long Beach Veterans Administration Medical Center, Long Beach, Calif., USA
          174496 Cardiology 1989;76:234–242
          © 1989 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          Page count
          Pages: 9
          Exercise Testing and Rehabilitation


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