Purpose: Interval training (INT) is a commonly used method of exercise training in both athletic and clinical populations. Although we generally understand left ventricular (LV) function during steady state (SS) exercise, there are no data regarding LV function during INT.
Methods: We studied eight healthy, physically active volunteers during upright cycle ergometry during 15 min of both SS and INT, at the same average power output (90% individual anaerobic threshold), using first pass radionuclide ventriculography. During INT (60s/60s), measures of LV function were made during work (220 W) after 4 and 12 min and during recovery (120 W) after 7 and 15 min. These were compared with the average of four temporally matched measures made during SS (170 W).
Results: During INT, LV ejection fraction increased from rest (67 +/- 6%) to 77 +/- 5, 80 +/- 5, 77 +/- 5 and 79 +/- 4% after 4, 7, 12, and 15 min, respectively. During SS, LV ejection fraction was not significantly different at rest (70 +/- 4%) or during exercise (76 +/- 4, 79 +/- 4, 80 +/- 3, and 81 +/- 3%) after 4, 7, 12, and 15 min, respectively. Other measures of LV function (HR, BP, LV volumes, cardiac output, systemic vascular resistance, peak emptying, and filling rates) were likewise similar during temporally matched measurements during INT and SS.
Conclusions: Although there were the expected transitions of ejection fraction with work and recovery, the overall hemodynamic picture during INT was very similar to SS. These data suggest that LV function during INT is not substantially different to that during SS.