Cardiac manifestations of exhaustive exercise in nonathletic adults: does cardiac fatigue occur?

Motaz Alshaher, Rif El-Mallakh, Buddhadeb Dawn, Tariq Siddiqui, Rita A Longaker, Marcus F Stoddard
Echocardiography 2007, 24 (3): 237-42
The aim of the study was to examine the impact of prolonged exercise leading to physical exhaustion on left ventricular (LV) systolic and diastolic function in untrained healthy subjects, and to examine cardiovascular determinants of exercise performance. Twenty-four nonathletic healthy adults (14 males, 10 females; mean age 42 +/- 11 years) were exercised on a treadmill at 70% of maximal oxygen consumption until physical exhaustion occurred after an average of 84 +/- 39 minutes. Two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography was performed before and 15 minutes after exercise to assess LV function and geometry, and right ventricular (RV) systolic function. After prolonged exercise, LV ejection fraction and geometry were unchanged, but LV end-diastolic volume, end-systolic volume, and stroke volume decreased. However, due to a higher heart rate (HR), cardiac output increased at 15 minutes post exercise. RV fractional shortening was unchanged. LV peak early to atrial filling velocity ratio decreased post exercise, with an increase in percent atrial contribution. However, less preload-dependent variables of LV diastolic function such as deceleration time, LV inflow propagation rate, mitral annular tissue Doppler and myocardial performance index were unchanged. Preexercise stroke volume and HR were the only predictors (r = 0.86, P < 0.01) of exercise duration. However, age, resting blood pressure, indices of systolic and diastolic function, and LV geometry were not predictors. Prolonged exercise leading to physical exhaustion is not associated with systolic or diastolic dysfunction. Reduced early LV diastolic filling and the relative increase in left atrial contribution seen with prolonged exercise are likely due to preload reduction rather than true diastolic dysfunction.

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