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    AHA Calls for Creation of National Registry on Cardiorespiratory Fitness

    A new policy statement by the American Heart Association (AHA) encourages clinicians to assess cardiorespiratory fitness with the hope that researchers can gather more information on aerobic fitness and its related variables to identify individuals who might be at risk for adverse clinical outcomes.

    The AHA writing committee also advocates for the creation of a national registry that includes data on cardiorespiratory fitness that would allow researchers to track aerobic fitness over long periods of time, just as is being done with other variables such as cholesterol, blood pressure, physical activity levels, and body weight, among others. It also would provide more information on normative aerobic fitness levels in subsets of the population.

    According to a Heartwire article, one of the goals of the national registry is to increase awareness about the importance of cardiorespiratory fitness. Many of the assessments are performed in exercise centers and research settings, but not as frequently in clinical practice.

    While information is available in pockets of the country, including data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, the hope is more information would allow researchers to determine normative cardiorespiratory fitness levels, via direct measurements of VO2, in groups stratified by age, gender, and body composition in large samples representative of the US population.

    The registry also would help define normative values of aerobic fitness across strata of physical activity levels. Chair of the AHA policy statement, Leonard Kaminsky, PhD, told Heartwire that "physical activity is simply a behavior, and while both are inversely associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease, there are factors that contribute to aerobic fitness than other physical activity levels, including age and genetics. In addition, cardiorespiratory fitness is a more clinically meaningful measure than self-reported physical-activity levels, which are prone to considerable error."

    APTA member Ross Arena, PT, PhD, is a coauthor of the statement, which was published online ahead of print January 7 in Circulation.   

    A new APTA podcast that focuses on screening for physical inactivity distinguishes between physical activity and physical fitness, explains the use of physical activity to screen for issues of impaired physical fitness, and provides information on what to do with the results of the screen. It also gives examples illustrating various types of patients and the role that physical activity plays in their overall health. 


    Comments

    This is important work. Studies done to assist with clinical decision-making regarding whether-or-not to administer a treatment in oncology, i.e. to surgically excise a metastatic tumor to the brain, find that a patient's performance status is the single biggest predictor of outcome. Since performance status is a reflection of a patient's cardiorespiratory fitness, I predict the data from this registry will enable clinicians to make more informed decisions regarding their treatments in areas beyond oncology.
    Posted by Sarah Pedersen, PT on 1/19/2013 10:50 AM
    For more widespread application as we move forward with wellness I would think the modified Bruce protocol, aka the 12 min treadmill test would be a more readily available clinical tool. If APTA can work with AMA and CMS to create a code for billing wellness PTs will play a greater role in prevention of CAD and DM.
    Posted by George O´Malley -> EGPb on 1/23/2013 4:03 PM
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