Cardiac rehabilitation and functional capacity in elderly
The increasing prevalence of coronary artery disease peaks at over 70% after age 75. Still, information about cardiac rehabilitation (CR) in this age category is limited. This study not only found that CR is effective for improving physical performance in adults aged 75 or older, but also that this is particularly so in those with poorer baseline aerobic capacity, resistance and/ or muscular strength.
A total of 160 older adults were included. Aerobic capacity (cardiopulmonary stress test), resistance (6-minute walk test) and isokinetic muscle strength (hamstrings and quadriceps, isokinetic dynamometry) were determined at baseline and after 4 weeks of aerobic training to assess functional capacity. Aerobic training consisted of alternatingly biking or calisthenics for 30 minutes at 60-70% of VO2peak for 5 days a week with weekly increasing intensity to maintain the same level of perceived exertion (Borg scale 11-13).
All 3 indexes of physical performance improved significantly during the 4-week program, with lower baseline indexes independently associated with larger increases in physical performance. Nearly 30% of participants improved their VO2peak by more than 15% during the program. All participants were able to complete the program, during which no severe complications occurred and no interruptions were necessary for longer than 10 days. Future research is necessary to determine the effects of different training intensities and volumes, and retention of training results.
> From: Baldasserioni et al., J Am Geriatr Soc 64 (2017) 1640-1645. All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the online summary.