Physical conditioning and left ventricular performance in the elderly: assessment by radionuclide angiocardiography.
In contrast to young persons, normal elderly persons who undergo symptom-limited dynamic exercise demonstrate a decrease in left ventricular (LV) contractile performance characterized by a decrease in LV ejection fraction. To test the hypothesis that physical conditioning can be achieved in older persons and produces improvement in the exercise-induced decrease in LV ejection fraction observed during normal aging, we examined 24 normal elderly persons (mean age 72.0 years) before and after a 12-week program of physical training. The subjects had been screened for evidence of cardiovascular disease including rest and exercise stress electrocardiograms. All subjects underwent rest and exercise upright sitting radionuclide angiocardiography before and after the training program. The subjects achieved cardiovascular training effects as measured by increased functional capacity and decreased double product at one-half the maximum work load attained at the initial stress test. A significant increase occurred after training in the cardiac index response to exercise (p less than 0.02) and in the augmentation of the end-diastolic volume index produced by exercise (p less than 0.05). However, the exercise-induced decrease in LV ejection fraction and increase in LV end-systolic volume index remained unaltered by training. In conclusion, although older persons can achieve overall training effects from a program of physical conditioning, the age-associated differences in LV contractile performance remained unchanged. Our data suggest that deconditioning is not a significant contributor to the decline in LV contractile performance in the elderly.
Schocken, DD; Blumenthal, JA; Port, S; Hindle, P; Coleman, RE
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