September 6, 2016 – Stress Tests and Sex

August 31, 2016

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Anchor lead:  Results for stress tests need to integrate the sex of the patient, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Have you had a stress test to assess your heart’s health?  Do you know if your physician considered your sex in interpreting the results?  Many doctors don’t, a Johns Hopkins study led by Michael Blaha, a preventive cardiology expert, has shown.

Blaha: Historically when physicians interpreted results of a stress test, they didn’t consider the sex of the patient when determining how well someone did on the treadmill. You might rate someone’s exercise capacity as good or bad or fair, but we didn’t account for the fact that there are sex differences.  We’ve shown in a recent study that on average women achieve about two METs less workload on a treadmill than the average man.  But it turns out that fitness is just as predictive of long term mortality in men as it is in women.  We really need to be putting the results of a stress test in the context of the sex of a patient.  :33

Blaha says failure to factor sex into stress tests results may render the findings more concerning for women.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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