Effects of residential exercise training on heart rate recovery in coronary artery patients

Jacopo M. Legramante, Ferdinando Iellamo, Michele Massaro, Sergio Sacco, Alberto Galante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aims of the present study are twofold: 1) to investigate whether heart rate recovery (HRR) after a cycle ergometry test is affected by exercise training and 2) to test the ability of HRR to replicate the baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) changes that occur in response to an exercise training program in coronary artery patients. We randomized 82 coronary artery patients undergoing a residential cardiac rehabilitation program to an exercise training group (TR; n = 43) and an untrained group (UTR; n = 39). All of the patients underwent an exercise test before and after the rehabilitation program. HRR was recorded at the end of the 1st and 2nd min after exercise. BRS was determined at rest before and after treatment. HRR after the 2nd min was significantly improved in TR patients (-21.4 ± 0.9 beats/min) compared with UTR patients (-17.8 ± 1.2 beats/min) at the end of the training program. Improvement in HRR paralleled that in BRS in TR patients (from 3.2 ± 0.3 to 5.3 ± 0.8 ms/mmHg; P = 0.001), whereas no significant change was evident in UTR patients (from 3.5 ± 0 to 4.0 ± 0.4 ms/mmHg; P = 0.230). Our data show that HRR in the 2nd min after the cessation of a cycle ergometer exercise test increased in coronary artery patients after an exercise training period. This result confirms the positive effect induced by exercise training on HRR and extends the conclusions of previous studies to different modalities of exercise (i.e., cycle ergometer). HRR might provide an additional simple marker of the effectiveness of physical training programs in cardiac patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart rate response to exercise
  • Physical training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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