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Previous reports on the safety of exercise testing have been based on surveys from different testing facilities with a variety of testing protocols and patient types. From 1971 through 1987, 71,914 maximal exercise tests conducted in a population with a low prevalence of known coronary heart disease under uniform conditions at a single medical facility resulted in six major cardiac complications including one death. No complications have occurred in the past 10 years in 45,000 maximal tests. The overall cardiac complication rate in men and women is 0.8 complications per 10,000 tests with 95% confidence intervals of 0.3-1.9 complications per 10,000 tests. Maximal exercise testing appears safer than some previously published reports have suggested and seems to be getting safer with time.

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