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Baroreflex function in sedentary and endurance-trained elderly people

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Alan MurrayORCiD, Professor Gary Ford


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Objective: to determine the differences associated with age and endurance exercise training on the baroreflex function of healthy subjects. Design: cross-sectional study. Setting: university research department. Participants: 26 (10 female) sedentary, healthy, normotensive elderly subjects (mean age 67 years, range 62-81), eight (two female) elderly endurance-trained athletes (66 years, 62-69) and eight (two female) young (30 years, 25-34) subjects. Measurements: baroreflex sensitivity was quantified by the α-index, at high frequency (HF, 0.15-0.35 Hz) and mid frequency (MF, 0.05-0.15 Hz), derived from spectral and cross-spectral analysis of spontaneous fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure. Results: resting heart rate was significantly lower in endurance-trained athletes than sedentary elderly people (58 ± 12 versus 68 ± 11 min-1, P < 0.05) but not different to that in healthy young subjects (63 ± 9 min-1). α(HF) in sedentary elderly subjects (8.1 ± 4.2 ms.mmHg-1) was lower than both endurance-trained elderly athletes (14.8 ± 4.8 ms.mmHg-1, P < 0.05) and healthy young subjects (28.3 ± 21.8 ms.mmHg-1, P < 0.05) and was not significantly different between endurance-trained elderly athletes and healthy young subjects (P = 0.10). α(MF) in healthy young subjects (15.4 ± 8.8 ms.mmHg-1) was greater than in sedentary elderly subjects (6.5 ± 3.2 ms.mmHg-1, P < 0.01) and endurance-trained elderly athletes (6.9 ± 2.0 ms.mmHg-1, P < 0.01), while there was no significant difference between the two elderly groups (P = 0.66). Conclusions: both components of the baroreflex measured by the α-index show a decrease with age. Elderly endurance-trained athletes have less reduction in the high, but not mid, frequency component of the α-index compared with sedentary elderly subjects. Some of the age-related changes in baroreflex sensitivity may be related to physical fitness and activity levels.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bowman AJ, Clayton RH, Murray A, Reed JW, Feisal Subhan MF, Ford GA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Age and Ageing

Year: 1997

Volume: 26

Issue: 4

Pages: 289-294

Print publication date: 01/07/1997

ISSN (print): 0002-0729

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2834

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/ageing/26.4.289

PubMed id: 9271292


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