Abnormalities in arterial-ventricular coupling in older healthy persons are attenuated by sodium nitroprusside

Paul D. Chantler, Amit Nussbacher, Gary Gerstenblith, Steven P. Schulman, Lewis C. Becker, Luigi Ferrucci, Jerome L. Fleg, Edward G. Lakatta, Samer S. Najjar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The coupling between arterial elastance (EA; net afterload) and left ventricular elastance (ELV; pump performance), known as EA/ELV, is a key determinant of cardiovascular performance and shifts during exercise due to a greater increase in ELV versus EA. This normal exercise-induced reduction in EA/ELV decreases with advancing age. We hypothesized that sodium nitroprusside (SNP) can acutely ameliorate the age-associated deficits in EA/ELV. At rest and during graded exercise to exhaustion, EA was characterized as end-systolic pressure/stroke volume and ELV as end-systolic pressure/end-systolic volume. Resting EA/ELV did not differ between old (70 ± 8 yr, n = 15) and young (30 ± 5 yr, n = 17) subjects because of a tandem increase in EA and ELV in older subjects. During peak exercise, a blunted increase in ELV in old (7.8 ± 3.1 mmHg/ml) versus young (11.4 ± 6.5 mmHg/ml) subjects blunted the normal exercise-induced decline in EA/ELV in old (0.25 ± 0.11) versus young (0.16 ± 0.05) subjects. SNP administration to older subjects lowered resting EA/ELV by 31% via a reduction in EA (10%) and an increase in ELV (47%) and lowered peak exercise EA/ELV (36%) via an increase in ELV (68%) without a change in EA. Importantly, SNP attenuated the age-associated deficits in EA/ELV and ELV during exercise, and at peak exercise EA/ELV in older subjects on drug administration did not differ from young subjects without drug administration. In conclusion, some age-associated deficiencies in EA/ELV, EA, and ELV, in older subjects can be acutely abolished by SNP infusion. This is relevant to common conditions in older subjects associated with a significant impairment of exercise performance such as frailty or heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1914-H1922
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Aging
  • Exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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