Objectives: To study the effect of aerobic interval training (AIT) on myocardial function in sedentary seniors compared to master athletes (MA) and young controls.
Design: Sixteen seniors (72 ± 1 years, 10 men) performed AIT (4 × 4 minutes) at ≈ 90% of maximal heart rate three times per week for 12 weeks. Results were compared with 11 male MA (74 ± 2 years) and 10 young males (23 ± 2 years).
Results: Seniors had an impaired diastolic function compared to the young at rest. AIT improved resting diastolic parameters, increased E/A ratio (44%, p <0.01), early diastolic tissue Doppler velocity (e') (11%, p <0.05) and e' during exercise (11%, p <0.01), shortened isovolumic relaxation rate (IVRT) (13%, p <0.01). Left ventricle (LV) systolic function (S') was unaffected at rest, whereas S' during stress echo increased by 29% (p <0.01). Right ventricle (RV) S' and RV fractional area change (RFAC) increased (9%, p <0.01, 12%, p =0.01, respectively), but not RV e'. MA had the highest end-diastolic volume, stroke volume, diastolic reserve and RV S'.
Conclusion: AIT partly reversed the impaired age related diastolic function in healthy seniors at rest, improved LV diastolic and systolic function during exercise as well as RV S' at rest.