First Author: P.De Boever BELGIUM
Co Author(s): T. Louwies L. Int Panis K. Bonne T. Alders T. Nawrot P. Dendale
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Physical activity promotion program for cardiac patients in a rehabilitation centre
Exercise-based rehabilitation improves cardiac fitness. This study measured responses in retinal blood vessel diameters following a maximal endurance test and investigated changes in the response during the course of rehabilitation.
78 cardiac patients (age = 61.3 ± 12.1 years ; 67% male) were recruited at Jessa Hospital (Belgium). The patients participated in a rehabilitation program and completed three maximal endurance cycling tests at start, after 6 weeks and 12 weeks of rehabilitation. In parallel, 32 healthy individuals (age = 65.1 ± 12.9 years; 78% male) performed an endurance test. Fundus images were collected immediately before, 0, 5, 10, 15 and 30 minutes after these tests. The widths of retinal blood vessels, represented as the Central Retinal Arteriolar/Venular Equivalent (CRAE/CRVE) were calculated. Mixed models were used for statistical analysis.
A significant decrease in CRAE was observed in patients during the first endurance test (n=78). The maximal decrease in CRAE was observed 5 minutes after the test: -2.17 µm (95% CI: -4.05 to -0.28; p=0.028). The maximal decrease in CRVE was observed immediately after the test: -5.32 µm (95% CI: -7.33 to -3.30; p=0.028). The vessel response was different in the second (n=56) and third endurance test (n=34). A maximal increase in CRAE was observed 5 minutes after the second endurance test, an increase of 5.98 µm (95% CI: 4.25 to 7.71; p<0.0001). The maximal increase in CRAE in the third endurance test was observed after 15 minutes and was 5.34 µm (95% CI: 3.89 to 6.78; p<0.0001). CRVE was not significantly changed in the second and third endurance test. Healthy individuals showed a significant increase in CRAE after the endurance test. Maximum increase was reached after 30 minutes [4.31 µm (95% CI: 2.88 to 5.38; p<0.0001)]. A significant decrease in CRVE was observed immediately after the test [-3.17 µm (95% CI: -5.26 to -1.07; p=0.0066)].
The diameters of retinal blood vessels exhibited a dynamic response to endurance test. Blood vessel responses of patients and matched controls were different. The difference in retinal vessel response disappeared when the patients progressed in the rehabilitation program.