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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Aug 4;44(3):611-7.

Age and gender affect ventricular-vascular coupling during aerobic exercise.

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Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science, National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.



The goal of this study was to examine the age-associated differences in ventricular-vascular coupling, defined by the ratio of arterial elastance (EaI) to left ventricular systolic elastance (E(LV)I), and its components, at rest and during exercise.


Ejection fraction (EF) increases during exercise, but the EF reserve decreases with aging. Ejection fraction is inversely related to EaI/E(LV)I, an index of the interaction between arterial and ventricular properties, which is an important determinant of cardiac performance. Thus, age differences in EaI/E(LV)I during exercise, due to age differences in EaI, E(LV)I, or both, may help to explain the age deficit in EF reserve.


We noninvasively characterized EaI/E(LV)I = end-systolic volume index (ESVI)/stroke volume index (SVI) and its two determinants EaI = end-systolic pressure/SVI, and E(LV)I = end-systolic pressure/ESVI, at rest and during exercise in 239 healthy men and women (age range, 21 to 87 years). Blood pressures were assessed with cuff sphygomanometry, and cardiac volumes with gated blood pool scintingraphy.


Resting EaI/E(LV)I was not age related in men or women. In both sexes, EaI/E(LV)I decreased during exercise and declined to a lesser extent in older subjects. There were gender differences in the components of EaI/E(LV)I during exercise: EaI was greater in older versus young women (p = 0.01) but was unaffected by age in men. Left ventricular systolic elastance increased to a greater extent in young versus older subjects (p = 0.0001 for men, p = 0.07 for women).


Age-associated differences in EaI/E(LV)I occur in both genders during exercise. Sub-optimal ventricular-vascular coupling helps to explain the age-associated blunting of maximal exercise EF, and its underlying mechanisms appear to differ between men and women.

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