Age and gender affect ventricular-vascular coupling during aerobic exercise

Samer S. Najjar, Steven P. Schulman, Gary Gerstenblith, Jerome L. Fleg, David A. Kass, Frances O'Connor, Lewis C. Becker, Edward G. Lakatta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Objectives The goal of this study was to examine the age-associated differences in ventricular-vascular coupling, defined by the ratio of arterial elastance (EaI) to left ventricular systolic elastance (E LVI), and its components, at rest and during exercise. Background Ejection fraction (EF) increases during exercise, but the EF reserve decreases with aging. Ejection fraction is inversely related to EaI/E LVI, an index of the interaction between arterial and ventricular properties, which is an important determinant of cardiac performance. Thus, age differences in EaI/E LVI during exercise, due to age differences in EaI, E LVI, or both, may help to explain the age deficit in EF reserve. Methods We noninvasively characterized EaI/E LVI = end-systolic volume index (ESVI)/stroke volume index (SVI) and its two determinants EaI = end-systolic pressure/SVI, and E LVI = end-systolic pressure/ESVI, at rest and during exercise in 239 healthy men and women (age range, 21 to 87 years). Blood pressures were assessed with cuff sphygomanometry, and cardiac volumes with gated blood pool scintingraphy. Results Resting EaI/E LVI was not age related in men or women. In both sexes, EaI/E LVI decreased during exercise and declined to a lesser extent in older subjects. There were gender differences in the components of EaI/E LVI during exercise: EaI was greater in older versus young women (p = 0.01) but was unaffected by age in men. Left ventricular systolic elastance increased to a greater extent in young versus older subjects (p = 0.0001 for men, p = 0.07 for women). Conclusions Age-associated differences in EaI/E LVI occur in both genders during exercise. Sub-optimal ventricular-vascular coupling helps to explain the age-associated blunting of maximal exercise EF, and its underlying mechanisms appear to differ between men and women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-617
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 4 2004


  • BP
  • DBP
  • E I
  • EF
  • ESP
  • ESVI
  • EaI
  • LV
  • blood pressure
  • diastolic blood pressure
  • effective arterial elastance index
  • ejection fraction
  • end-systolic pressure
  • end-systolic volume index
  • left ventricular systolic elastance index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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