Heart rate recovery after maximal exercise is blunted in hypertensive seniors

Stuart A. Best, Tiffany B. Bivens, M. Dean Palmer, Kara N. Boyd, M. Melyn Galbreath, Yoshiyuki Okada, Graeme Carrick-Ranson, Naoki Fujimoto, Shigeki Shibata, Jeffrey L. Hastings, Matthew D. Spencer, Takashi Tarumi, Benjamin D. Levine, Qi Fu

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16 Scopus citations


Abnormal heart rate recovery (HRR) after maximal exercise may indicate autonomic dysfunction and is a predictor for cardiovascular mortality. HRR is attenuated with aging and in middle-age hypertensive patients, but it is unknown whether HRR is attenuated in older-age adults with hypertension. This study compared HRR among 16 unmedicated stage 1 hypertensive (HTN) participants [nine men/seven women; 68 ± 5 (SD) yr; awake ambulatory blood pressure (BP) 149 ± 10/87 ± 7 mmHg] and 16 normotensive [control (CON)] participants (nine men/seven women; 67 ± 5 yr; 122 ± 4/72 ± 5 mmHg). HR, BP, oxygen uptake (V? O2), cardiac output (Qc), and stroke volume (SV) were measured at rest, at two steady-state work rates, and graded exercise to peak during maximal treadmill exercise. During 6 min of seated recovery, the change in HR (ΔHR) was obtained every minute and BP every 2 min. In addition, HRR and R-R interval (RRI) recovery kinetics were analyzed using a monoexponential function, and the indexes (HRRI and RRII) were calculated. Maximum V ? O2, HR, Qc, and SV responses during exercise were not different between groups. ΔHR was significantly different (P < 0.001) between the HTN group (26 ± 8) and the CON group (36 ± 12 beats/min) after 1 min of recovery but less convincing at 2 min (P = 0.055). BP recovery was similar between groups. HRRI was significantly lower (P = 0.016), and there was a trend of lower RRII (P = 0.066) in the HTN group compared with the CON group. These results show that in older-age adults, HRR is attenuated further with the presence of hypertension, which may be attributable to an impairment of autonomic function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1302-1307
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2014 by the American Physiological Society.


  • Autonomic function
  • Exercise
  • Heart rate recovery
  • Hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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