One of the most debilitating effects of primary aging is the decline in aerobic exercise capacity. One of its causes is an age-related decline in peak exercise stroke volume. This study's main purpose was to determine the cardiovascular adaptations to aging that most influence peak exercise stroke volume in the elderly. We hypothesized that increased left ventricular (LV) filling and mild concentric LV remodeling would be associated with an increase in peak exercise stroke volume corrected for lean body mass (LBM) and that an increased augmentation index (AI), which is a marker of arterial stiffness, would be associated with a decrease. A second aim was to determine the adaptations to aging that most influence LV concentric remodeling in the elderly. We hypothesized that AI would be a predictor of LV mass/LBM and the LV posterior wall thickness-to-LV radius ratio (h/r). We performed a cross-sectional study of cardiac and vascular adaptations to aging in 52 sedentary, elderly subjects. LV filling [as measured by the early-to-late transmitral flow velocity ratio (E/A)] was inversely correlated with and was an independent predictor of peak exercise stroke volume/LBM and was also a predictor of LV remodeling. AI was a predictor of LV remodeling (LV mass/LBM) but not of peak exercise stroke volume/LBM. We conclude that 1) maintenance of LV filling (E/A <1) is associated with a higher peak exercise stroke volume/LBM in very elderly subjects and thus may be a useful adaptation that enhances stroke volume during peak exercise, 2) LV remodeling and AI are less influential on peak exercise stroke volume/LBM, and 3) AI was the most important predictor of LV remodeling.
- Cardiac remodeling
- Ventricular filling