Effects of acute exercise on endothelial function in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm

Tom G. Bailey, Maria Perissiou, Mark T. Windsor, Karl Schulze, Michael Nam, Rebecca Magee, Anthony S. Leicht, Daniel J. Green, Kim Greaves, Jonathan Golledge, Christopher D. Askew

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Endothelial dysfunction is observed in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), who have increased risk of cardiovascular events and mortality. This study aimed to assess the acute effects of moderate- and higher-intensity exercise on endothelial function, as assessed by flow-mediated dilation (FMD), in AAA patients (74 ± 6 yr old, n = 22) and healthy adults (72 ± 5 yr old, n = 22). Participants undertook three randomized visits, including moderate-intensity continuous exercise [40% peak power output (PPO)], higher-intensity interval exercise (70% PPO), and a no-exercise control. Brachial artery FMD was assessed at baseline and at 10 and 60 min after each condition. Baseline FMD was lower [by 1.10% (95% confidence interval: 0.72−.81), P = 0.044] in AAA patients than in healthy adults. There were no group differences in FMD responses after each condition (P = 0.397). FMD did not change after no-exercise control but increased by 1.21% (95% confidence interval: 0.69−1.73, P < 0.001) 10 min after moderate-intensity continuous exercise in both groups and returned to baseline after 60 min. Conversely, FMD decreased by 0.93% (95% confidence interval: 0.41−1.44, P < 0.001) 10 min after higher-intensity interval exercise in both groups and remained decreased after 60 min. We found that the acute response of endothelial function to exercise is intensity-dependent and similar between AAA patients and healthy adults. Our findings provide evidence that regular exercise may improve vascular function in AAA patients, as it does in healthy adults. Improved FMD after moderate-intensity exercise may provide short-term benefit. Whether the decrease in FMD after higher-intensity exercise represents an additional risk and/or a greater stimulus for vascular adaptation remains to be elucidated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H19-H30
Number of pages12
JournalAJP: Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • exercise
  • endothelial function
  • flow-mediated dilation
  • cardiovascular risk


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