News Author: Lisa Nainggolan
CME Author: Charles P. Vega, MD (http://cme.medscape.com
November 16, 2009 — A new study has shown that walking speed over 6 m in older people is predictive of cardiovascular mortality, with those in the slowest tertile three times more likely to suffer CV death over five years than those who walked faster . Dr Julien Dumurgier (INSERM, Paris, France) and colleagues say this kind of walking test could be part of a general clinical assessment of those aged over 65; they report their findings online November 10, 2009 in BMJ.
"We found that old persons who walk slowly have an increased risk of death, in particular cardiovascular death; it's an easy message," second author, epidemiologist Dr Alexis Elbaz (INSERM), told heartwire . "This shows us the very important role of trying to maintain good fitness in older persons," he added.
Geriatricians Drs Rowan H Harwood (Queen's Medical Center, Nottingham, UK) and Simon P Conroy (Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK) are the authors of an editorial accompanying the study . Harwood told heartwire that the study was "technically well done," if not new information.
Nevertheless, he says, what the French group has done, "nicely, is that they show a strong relationship" between slow walking speed and cardiovascular death. "People have looked at vascular events before and they have looked at vascular mortality, but they haven't put it in the context of all the other sorts of mortality, and they haven't pulled mortality apart in the way that this group did."