Heart rate recovery after maximal exercise is impaired in healthy young adults born preterm.

Affiliation

Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1685 Highland Avenue, UWMFCB-6130, Madison, WI, 53705, USA. [Email]

Abstract

OBJECTIVE : The long-term implications of premature birth on autonomic nervous system (ANS) function are unclear. Heart rate recovery (HRR) following maximal exercise is a simple tool to evaluate ANS function and is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease. Our objective was to determine whether HRR is impaired in young adults born preterm (PYA).
METHODS : Individuals born between 1989 and 1991 were recruited from the Newborn Lung Project, a prospectively followed cohort of subjects born preterm weighing < 1500 g with an average gestational age of 28 weeks. Age-matched term-born controls were recruited from the local population. HRR was measured for 2 min following maximal exercise testing on an upright cycle ergometer in normoxia and hypoxia, and maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max) was measured.
RESULTS : Preterms had lower VO2max than controls (34.88 ± 5.24 v 46.15 ± 10.21 ml/kg/min, respectively, p < 0.05), and exhibited slower HRR compared to controls after 1 and 2 min of recovery in normoxia (absolute drop of 20 ± 4 v 31 ± 10 and 41 ± 7 v 54 ± 11 beats per minute (bpm), respectively, p < 0.01) and hypoxia (19 ± 5 v 26 ± 8 and 39 ± 7 v 49 ± 13 bpm, respectively, p < 0.05). After adjusting for VO2max, HRR remained slower in preterms at 1 and 2 min of recovery in normoxia (21 ± 2 v 30 ± 2 and 42 ± 3 v 52 ± 3 bpm, respectively, p < 0.05), but not hypoxia (19 ± 3 v 25 ± 2 and 40 ± 4 v 47 ± 3 bpm, respectively, p > 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS : Autonomic dysfunction as seen in this study has been associated with increased rates of cardiovascular disease in non-preterm populations, suggesting further study of the mechanisms of autonomic dysfunction after preterm birth.

Keywords

Autonomic dysfunction,Autonomic function,Cardiovascular disease,Exercise testing,Heart rate recovery,Maximal aerobic capacity,Premature birth,Prematurity,Preterm birth,