Importance of considering ventricular function when prescribing exercise after acute myocardial infarction
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This investigation was undertaken in patients who had an acute myocardial infarction 12.6 +/- 0.4 months earlier to determine, using conventional methods, the nature of stroke volume changes during training regimens. Twenty-seven patients (mean age 52 +/- 2 years; rest ejection fraction 49 +/- 2%; New York Heart Association functional class I or II) and 9 normal, age-matched sedentary control subjects (mean age 50 +/- 1 years) exercised in the upright position on a bicycle ergometer. Stroke volume was measured by impedance cardiography at rest and after each workload. Ten patients (group A) had a stroke volume response similar to that of the normal sedentary subjects. In 8 patients (group B) the stroke volume increased initially, then decreased (more than 15%) at heart rates (HRs) greater than 100 to 105 beats/min. Nine patients (group C) had a flattened stroke volume response throughout exercise. Training HR determined by conventional methods corresponded to a maximal stroke volume in the normal subjects. Training HR in group A corresponded to a stroke volume that was maximal or near-maximal. Training HR in group B corresponded to a maximal or diminishing stroke volume. In group C, the training HR corresponded to a stroke volume no different from that at rest. Thus, training HR determined by conventional methods based solely on the chronotropic responses to exercise may place patients who have abnormal stroke volume responses to upright exercise in a situation during training sessions in which an inappropriately high HR, excessive fatigue or silent ischemia may develop.
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