Handrail support produces a higher rate pressure product in apparently healthy non-treadmill users during maximal exercise testing

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Whitman, Mark
Sabapathy, Surendran
Jenkins, Carly
Adams, Lewis
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2019
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Objective: Exercise treadmill testing (ETT) is a well-established procedure for the diagnosis, prognosis and functional assessment of patients with suspected cardiovascular disease. The use of handrail support during ETT is often discouraged as this has been demonstrated to overestimate functional capacity. It is unknown if this increase in functional capacity translates to an increase in cardiac workload. The aim of this study was to investigate if the use of handrail support during maximal ETT produces an increase in cardiac workload when compared to no handrail support. Approach: Fifty-two consenting volunteers performed two maximal ETTs, one with handrail support and the other without, approximately one week apart. Participants were identified as either experienced treadmill users (treadmill use  ≥  once per fortnight) (n  =  24) or inexperienced users (n  =  28). Cardiac workload was quantified using rate pressure product (RPP) (systolic blood pressure (SBP)  ×  heart rate (HR)) Main results: The average age of participants was 38.4  ±  11.4 years (44% male). Overall exercise duration was significantly prolonged by 44.4% with handrail support (with support 15:01  ±  2:54 min; without support 10:24  ±  2:09 min). Overall HR, SBP and maximum RPP were not significantly different between conditions. For the 28 inexperienced treadmill users maximum RPP was significantly higher during handrail support (7.5% increase) (with support 34 417  ±  4906; without support 31 821  ±  4565). Significance: Handrail support overestimates functional capacity, however produces greater maximal RPP in inexperienced treadmill users. If accurate aerobic data is required during ETT, or subjects performing ETT are experienced treadmill users, handrail support should be discouraged. Non-treadmill users or subjects fearful of falling may benefit from handrail support, particularly when maximal cardiac workload is desired.

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PHYSIOLOGICAL MEASUREMENT
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Biomedical engineering
Medical physiology
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