During the past three decades, the exercise test has evolved into a method of considerable importance in the evaluation of patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease. Exercise testing aids physicians in making the diagnosis, in quantifying the functional limitation caused by the disease in individual patients, and in evaluating therapeutic effects. Exercise testing may also yield important prognostic insights. Exercise capacity, heart-rate and blood-pressure responses, and the presence and severity of symptoms and electrocardiographic evidence of inducible myocardial ischemia are among the variables that have value in risk stratification; these indexes provide additional prognostic information beyond that obtained.
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