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The definition of exertion-related cardiac events
  1. M Rai,
  2. P D Thompson
  1. Division of Cardiology, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
  1. Correspondence to Paul D Thompson, MD, Director of Cardiology, Hartford Hospital, 80 Seymour Street, Hartford, CT 06102, USA; pthomps{at}


Vigorous physical activity increases the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) but there is no standard definition as to what constitutes an exertion-related cardiac event, specifically the time interval between physical exertion and cardiac event. A systematic review of studies related to exertion-related cardiac events was performed and the time interval between exertion and the event or the symptoms leading to the event was looked for in all the articles selected for inclusion. A total of 12 of 26 articles “suggested” or “defined” exertion-related events as those events whose symptoms started during or within 1 h of exertion. Others used definitions of 0.5 h, 2 h, “during exertion”, “during or immediately post exertion” and “during or within several hours after exertion”. It is suggested, therefore, that the definition of an exertion-related cardiac event be established as a cardiac event in which symptoms started during or within 1 h of physical exertion.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and Peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.