Exercise testing

[Reviewed 4 December 2022]

Ischaemic heart disease is the major cause of mortality in middle aged men. A major ischaemic event underwater could prove fatal and endanger a diver’s buddy.

However, the value of screening exercise tests in apparently normal populations has now been largely discredited because of the appreciable false positive and false negative results in such groups.

Questions in Section A of the medical form enquire about chest pain and other cardiac symptoms. Those with symptoms suggestive of ischaemic heart disease should undergo exercise testing or referral to a local cardiologist as appropriate.

In the case of individuals with a poor family history or hyperlipidaemia but no cardiac symptoms, exercise testing is appropriate, particularly if they smoke, but needs to be interpreted with caution.