Heart rate behavior during an exercise stress test in obese patients

L. A. Gondoni, A. M. Titon, F. Nibbio, G. Augello, G. Caetani, A. Liuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Heart rate (HR) response to exercise has not been fully described in the obese. We wanted to study the differences between obese and non-obese patients in HR behavior during an exercise stress test and to determine whether these differences influence exercise capacity. Methods and results: We studied 554 patients (318 females) who underwent a treadmill exercise test. All subjects were in sinus rhythm. Patients with ischemic heart disease, with reduced ejection fraction and patients taking drugs that interfere with HR were excluded. The population included 231 patients with BMI <30 kg/m2 (group 1), 212 patients who were unfit and obese (group 2) and 111 patients who were trained obese (group 3). Resting HR was similar in the various groups. Peak HR, HR recovery and chronotropic index were lower in obese subjects, regardless of their fitness level. Multivariate analysis showed that HR related variables were associated with age, BMI, height, hypertension and various pharmacologic treatments, while exercise capacity was strongly dependent on HR behavior, as well as on sex, age, BMI and diabetes. Conclusion: Obese subjects have a marked impairment of HR behavior during exercise and in the recovery period, and the blunted increase in HR is the most important factor that influences exercise capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-176
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • Chronotropic index
  • Exercise stress test
  • Heart rate
  • Heart rate recovery
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Heart rate behavior during an exercise stress test in obese patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this