Abstract Background Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death in women and the accuracy of currently available risk scores is questionable. Objective To reclassify the risk estimated by the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) in asymptomatic middle-aged women by incorporating family history, exercise testing variables, and subclinical atherosclerosis markers. Methods This cross-sectional study included 509 women (age range, 46-65 years) without cardiovascular symptoms. Those at low or intermediate risk by the FRS were reclassified to a higher level considering premature family history of acute myocardial infarction and/or sudden death; four variables from exercise testing; and two variables related to subclinical atherosclerosis markers. The homogeneity of these variables according to the FRS was verified by Pearson chi-square test (p<0.05). Results According to the FRS, 80.2%, 6.2%, and 13.6% of the women were classified as low (<5%), intermediate (5-10%), and high (>10%) risks, respectively. The intermediate-risk stratum showed the highest increase (from 6.2% to 33.3%) with addition of family history; followed by addition of chronotropic index <80% (to 24.2%); functional capacity <85% (22.2%), coronary calcium score >0 (20.6%); decreased one-minute heart rate recovery ≤12 bpm (15.2%); carotid intima-media thickness >1 mm and/or carotid plaque (13.8%) and ST-segment depression (9.0%). The high-risk stratum increased to 14.4% with the addition of reduced heart rate recovery and to 17.1% with the coronary calcium score. Conclusion Incorporation of premature family history of cardiovascular events, exercise testing abnormal parameters, and subclinical atherosclerosis markers into the FRS led to risk reclassification in 3.0-29.7% of asymptomatic middle-aged women, mainly by an increase from low to intermediate risk.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate the prevalence of exercise testing alterations in middle-aged women without symptoms of heart disease and to verify the associations of functional capacity and heart rate behavior during and after exercise with cardiovascular risk factors. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 509 asymptomatic women aged between 46 and 65 years who underwent clinical evaluations and exercise testing (Bruce protocol). The heart rate behavior was evaluated by the maximal predicted heart rate achieved, chronotropic index and recovery heart rate. RESULTS: The mean age was 56.4±4.8 years, and 13.4% of the patients had a Framingham risk score above 10%. In the exercise treadmill testing, 58.0% presented one or more of the following alterations (listed in order of ascending prevalence): symptoms (angina, dyspnea, and dizziness), ST-segment depression, arrhythmia, reduction in recovery heart rate of ≤12 bpm at 1 minute, altered maximal predicted heart rate achieved, abnormal blood pressure, functional capacity deficiency, and altered chronotropic index. In the multivariate analysis, the following associations (odds ratio) were observed for these alterations: chronotropic index was associated with obesity (2.08) and smoking (4.47); maximal predicted heart rate achieved was associated with smoking (6.45); reduction in the recovery heart rate at 1 minute was associated with age (1.09) and obesity (2.78); functional capacity was associated with age (0.92), an overweight status (2.29) and obesity (6.51). CONCLUSIONS: More than half of middle-aged women without cardiovascular symptoms present alterations in one or more exercise testing parameters. Alterations in the functional capacity or heart rate behavior, as verified by exercise testing, are associated with age, smoking, an overweight status and obesity.