To evaluate potential benefits that elderly cardiac patients might gain from early exercise programs, 361 such patients were studied: group I-60 patients aged 44 years or younger; group II-114 patients aged 45 to 54 years; group III-111 patients aged 55 to 64 years; and group IV-76 elderly patients aged 65 years or older. All patients participated in a 12-week exercise program within 6 weeks of acute myocardial infarction or coronary artery bypass grafting. All patients performed symptom-limited exercise tests before and after completion of the exercise program. Between tests, elderly patients manifested significant differences in body weight (76.9 to 75.2 kg), percent body fat (22.3 to 20.8 kg), heart rate at rest (77 to 68 beats/min), maximal heart rate (126 to 138 beats/min), maximal METs (5.3 to 8.1), submaximal average double product (17,305 to 14,071), and submaximal average rating of perceived exertion (12 to 10 [p <0.05]). Magnitudes of change were similar among groups, although the elderly patient group had a significantly lower absolute physical work capacity at testing after training than the other 3 groups (p <0.05). In the 25 elderly patients who received β-blocking drugs, METs increased from 5.1 to 7.8 (p <0.05). In the remaining 51 elderly patients not receiving β-blocking drugs, METs increased from 5.4 to 8.2 (p <0.05). The magnitude of increase in patients who received β-blocking drugs was not significantly different from that in patients not receiving β-blocking drugs. Results suggest that benefits of early exercise programs seen in young cardiac patients may also be expected in elderly cardiac patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine