Low-grade exercise enhances platelet aggregability in patients with obstructive coronary disease independently of myocardial ischemia

Am J Cardiol. 2001 Jan 1;87(1):16-20. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(00)01265-0.


Moderate and strenuous exercise is known to enhance platelet aggregability in patients with obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD), but the effect of low-grade exercise is not known. We assessed shear-induced platelet aggregability before and after mild exercise (less than or equal to stage III of the modified Bruce protocol) in 27 patients with documented CAD who were receiving aspirin and in 12 subjects without CAD (controls). Ex vivo platelet aggregability was assessed in flowing whole blood as the time to occlude a collagen and adenosine diphosphate-coated ring; shorter times indicated greater aggregability. Aggregability, plasma von Willebrand factor (vWF) antigen, platelet and white cell counts, and hematocrit were measured at baseline, immediately after exercise (peak), and at 30 and 180 minutes after exercise. Exercise of similar workloads induced myocardial ischemia in 14 patients (group 1), but not in the other 13 (group 2) nor in controls. Both patient groups showed a reduction in aggregation time at peak exercise compared with baseline (group 1: 84+/-17 seconds at peak vs 96+/-22 seconds at baseline; group 2: 84+/-20 seconds at peak vs 99+/-20 seconds at baseline; p <0.03 for both comparisons), with a return to baseline values within 180 minutes. No significant variation occurred in controls (89+/-18 seconds at peak vs 85+/-21 second at baseline). Changes in vWF antigen did not differ significantly among groups. Aggregation times did not correlate with hematocrit or platelet and white cell counts. Thus, even low-grade exercise transiently enhances whole blood platelet aggregability in patients with obstructive CAD, but not in controls. The effect is independent of myocardial ischemia, occurs despite aspirin, and is likely dependent on hemodynamic factors interacting with coronary obstructions or dysfunctional endothelium.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Coronary Disease / blood*
  • Coronary Disease / drug therapy
  • Coronary Disease / therapy*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Platelet Aggregation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • von Willebrand Factor / metabolism


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • von Willebrand Factor
  • Aspirin