Improved arterial-ventricular coupling in metabolic syndrome after exercise training: a pilot study

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Purpose—The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with a three-fold increase risk of cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality, which is in part, due to a blunted CV reserve capacity, reflected by a reduced peak exercise left ventricular contractility and aerobic capacity, and a blunted peak arterial-ventricular coupling. To date, no study has examined whether aerobic exercise training in MetS can reverse the peak exercise CV dysfunction. Further, examining how exercise training alters CV function in a group of individuals with MetS prior to the development of diabetes and/or overt CVD, can provide insights into whether some of the pathophysiological changes to the CV can be delayed/reversed, lowering their CV risk. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of 8 weeks of aerobic exercise training in individuals with MetS on resting and peak exercise CV function. Methods—Twenty MetS underwent either 8 weeks of aerobic exercise training (MetS-ExT; n=10) or remained sedentary (MetS-NonT; n=10) during this time period. Resting and peak exercise CV function was characterized using Doppler echocardiography and gas exchange. Results—Exercise training did not alter resting left ventricular diastolic or systolic function and arterial-ventricular coupling in MetS. In contrast, at peak exercise an increase in LV contractility (40%, p<0.01), cardiac output (28%, p<0.05) and aerobic capacity (20%, p<0.01), while a reduction in vascular resistance (30%, p<0.05) and arterial-ventricular coupling (27%, p<0.01), were noted in the MetS-ExT but not the MetS-NonT group. Further, an improvement in Lifetime Risk Score was also noted in the MetS-ExT group. Conclusions—These findings have clinical importance as they provide insight that some of the pathophysiological changes associated with MetS can be improved and lower the risk of CVD.