Normal behaviour of circulatory parameters during exercise. Reference values for heart rate and systemic blood pressure. The ECCIS Project data. Epidemiologia e Clinica della Cardiopatia Ischemica Silente.
The study of simultaneous variations in heart rate (HR) and systemic blood pressure is of great interest in ergometric practice complementing the analysis of the ST segment by ECG. This paper examines data proceeding from 500 consecutive, normal, exercise stress tests with the aim of offering reference values on the step-by-step behaviour of HR, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP) during exercise in a normal population. The sample comes from a large epidemiological study (ECCIS Project) conducted on 4842 healthy, working men, aged 40-59, which proposes to identify, by a 3 stage procedure, subjects with totally asymptomatic coronary artery disease (type I silent ischemia). A further aim of our paper is to examine the influence of some physiological variables (age, height, weight, body mass index, resting HR, SBP and DBP) on the response to effort of HR, SBP and DBP; reciprocal HR/SBP adjustment during exercise; maximal attained workload and recovery time. Due to a preliminary observation that the rate of step-by-step increase in HR and SBP is inversely related to total duration, the population was split into 4 groups according to exercise tolerance (defined by maximal attained workload) to elaborate reference values. Furthermore our data demonstrate that: 1) SBP increases more rapidly with respect to HR for older and heavier subjects; 2) Exercise tolerance is inversely related to age, baseline HR and SBP, and directly related to weight and height; 3) return to baseline conditions, during recovery, is quicker for subjects with better exercise tolerance and lower baseline HR, SBP and weight.