New York : Can your performance on a treadmill tell how long you are going to live? Yes, say Johns Hopkins cardiologists. The team has developed a new algorithm - dubbed the FIT Treadmill Score - that can gauge long-term death risk in anyone based solely on treadmill exercise performance.
"The notion that being in good physical shape portends lower death risk is by no means new, but we wanted to quantify that risk precisely by age, gender and fitness level.
"And do so with a simple equation that requires no additional fancy testing beyond the standard stress test," said lead investigator Haitham Ahmed of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Several exercise-based risk scoring systems already in use are designed to measure short-term risk of dying but do so strictly among patients with established heart disease.
In addition to age and gender, the formula factors in peak heart rate reached during intense exercise and the ability to tolerate physical exertion as measured by so-called metabolic equivalents, or METs, a gauge of how much energy the body expends during exercise.
"The FIT Treadmill Score is easy to calculate and costs nothing beyond the cost of the treadmill test itself," said senior study author Michael Blaha.
"We hope the score will become a mainstay in cardiologists and primary clinicians' offices as a meaningful way to illustrate risk among those who undergo cardiac stress testing," Blaha added.
For the study, the team analysed information on 58,020 people, aged 18 to 96, who underwent standard exercise stress tests. Scores ranged from negative 200 to positive 200, with those above 0 having lower mortality risk and those in the negative range facing highest risk of dying.
The findings were published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.