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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007 Jan;102(1):231-40. Epub 2006 Sep 28.

Effect of endurance exercise training on heart rate onset and heart rate recovery responses to submaximal exercise in animals susceptible to ventricular fibrillation.

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Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, The Ohio State University, 304 Hamilton Hall, 1645 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210-1218, USA.


Both a large heart rate (HR) increase at exercise onset and a slow heart rate (HR) recovery following the termination of exercise have been linked to an increased risk for ventricular fibrillation (VF) in patients with coronary artery disease. Endurance exercise training can alter cardiac autonomic regulation. Therefore, it is possible that this intervention could restore a more normal HR regulation in high-risk individuals. To test this hypothesis, HR and HR variability (HRV, 0.24- to 1.04-Hz frequency component; an index of cardiac vagal activity) responses to submaximal exercise were measured 30, 60, and 120 s after exercise onset and 30, 60, and 120 s following the termination of exercise in dogs with healed myocardial infarctions known to be susceptible (n = 19) to VF (induced by a 2-min coronary occlusion during the last minute of a submaximal exercise test). These studies were then repeated after either a 10-wk exercise program (treadmill running, n = 10) or an equivalent sedentary period (n = 9). After 10 wk, the response to exercise was not altered in the sedentary animals. In contrast, endurance exercise increased indexes of cardiac vagal activity such that HR at exercise onset was reduced (30 s after exercise onset: HR pretraining 179 +/- 8.4 vs. posttraining 151.4 +/- 6.6 beats/min; HRV pretraining 4.0 +/- 0.4 vs. posttraining 5.8 +/- 0.4 ln ms(2)), whereas HR recovery 30 s after the termination of exercise increased (HR pretraining 186 +/- 7.8 vs. posttraining 159.4 +/- 7.7 beats/min; HRV pretraining 2.4 +/- 0.3 vs. posttraining 4.0 +/- 0.6 ln ms(2)). Thus endurance exercise training restored a more normal HR regulation in dogs susceptible to VF.

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