Exercise reveals impairments in left ventricular systolic function in patients with metabolic syndrome

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MetS is the manifestation of a cluster of cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and is associated with a three-fold increase risk of CV morbidity and mortality, which is suggested to be mediated, in part, by resting left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction. However, to what extent resting LV systolic function is impaired in MetS is controversial, and there are no data indicating whether LV systolic function is impaired during exercise. Accordingly, the objective of this study was to comprehensively examine LV and arterial responses to exercise in MetS individuals without diabetes and/or overt CVD compared to a healthy control population. CV function was characterized using Doppler echocardiography and gas exchange in MetS (n=27) vs. healthy controls (n=20) at rest and during peak exercise. At rest, MetS individuals displayed normal LV systolic function but reduced LV diastolic function vs. healthy controls. During peak exercise, individuals with MetS had impaired contractility; pump performance, and vasodilator reserve capacity vs. controls. A blunted contractile reserve response resulted in diminished arterial-ventricular coupling reserve and limited aerobic capacity in MetS vs. controls. These findings possess clinical importance as they provide insight to the pathophysiological changes in MetS that may predispose this population of individuals to an increased risk of CV morbidity and mortality.