Aim: We used a combined stress echocardiography and cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) to explore effort intolerance in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) patients. Methods: Twenty-three patients who had both PAD and coronary artery disease (CAD) were compared with twenty-four sex- and age-matched CAD patients and fifteen normal controls using a symptom-limited ramp bicycle CPET on a tilting dedicated ergometer. Echocardiographic images were obtained concurrently with gas exchange measurements along predefined stages of exercise. Oxygen extraction was calculated using the Fick equation at each activity level. Results: Along the stages of exercise (unloaded; anaerobic threshold; peak), in PAD + CAD patients compared with CAD or controls, diastolic function worsened (p = 0.051 and p = 0.013, respectively), and oxygen consumption (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively) and oxygen pulse (p = 0.0024 and p = 0.0027, respectively) were reduced. Notably, oxygen pulse was blunted due to an insufficient increase in both stroke volume (p = 0.025 and p = 0.028, respectively) and peripheral oxygen extraction (p = 0.031 and p = 0.038, respectively). Chronotropic incompetence was more prevalent in PAD patients and persisted after correction for beta-blocker use (62% vs. 42% and 11%, respectively). Conclusions: In PAD patients, exercise limitation is associated with diastolic dysfunction, chronotropic incompetence and peripheral factors.
- cardiopulmonary exercise test
- effort intolerance
- peripheral arterial disease
- stress echocardiography