The researchers then compared patients’ METs during treadmill testing and the time it took them to climb the stairs. Those who climbed the stairs in less than 40–45 seconds achieved more than 9–10 METs on the treadmill test.
Previous research has shown that 10 METs during an exercise test is associated with a low death rate (1% or less per year, or 10% in 10 years).
Patients who took 1.5 minutes or longer to climb the stairs achieved less than 8 METs on the treadmill test, which translates to a death rate of 2–4% per year, or 30% in 10 years.
The researchers also assessed heart function during the treadmill test and compared those results to the patients’ stair climb times.
About 58% of the patients who took 1.5 minutes or longer to climb the stairs had abnormal heart function during the treadmill examination, compared with 32% of those who climbed the stairs in less than one minute.
The study was scheduled for presentation Friday at a virtual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.
“The stairs test is an easy way to check your heart health,” Peteiro said in a society news release. “If it takes you more than one-and-a-half minutes to ascend four flights of stairs, your health is suboptimal, and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor.”
Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to a healthy heart.
SOURCE: European Society of Cardiology