Endothelial dysfunction and exercise performance in lone atrial fibrillation or associated with hypertension or diabetes: Different results with cardioversion

Marco Guazzi, Sebastiano Belletti, Elisabetta Bianco, Laura Lenatti, Maurizio D. Guazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Endothelial dysfunction and underperfusion of exercising muscle contribute to exercise intolerance, hyperventilation, and breathlessness in atrial fibrillation (AF). Cardioversion (CV) improves endothelial function and exercise performance. We examined whether CV is equally beneficial in diabetes and hypertension, diseases that cause endothelial dysfunction and are often associated with AF. Cardiopulmonary exercise and pulmonary and endothelial (brachial artery flow-mediated dilation) function were tested before and after CV in patients with AF alone (n = 18, group 1) or AF with hypertension (n = 19, group 2) or diabetes (n = 19, group 3). Compared with group 1, peak exercise workload, O 2 consumption (V̇O 2), O 2 pulse, aerobic efficiency (ΔV̇O 2/ΔWR), and ratio of brachial diameter changes to flow changes (ΔD/ΔF) were reduced in group 2 and, to a greater extent, in group 3; exercise ventilation efficiency (V̇E/V̇CO 2 slope) and dead space-to-tidal volume ratio (VD/VT) were similar among groups. CV had less effect on peak workload (+7% vs. +18%), peak V̇O 2 (+12% vs. +17%), O 2 pulse (+33% vs. +50%), ΔV̇O 2/ΔWR (+7% vs. +12%), V̇E/ V̇CO 2 slope (-6% vs. -12%), ΔD/ΔF (+7% vs. +10%), and breathlessness (Borg scale) in group 2 than in group 1 and was ineffective in group 3. The antioxidant vitamin C, tested in eight additional patients in each cohort, improved flow-mediated dilation in groups 1 and 2 before, but not after, CV and was ineffective in group 3, suggesting that the oxidative injury is least in lone AF, greater in hypertension with AF, and greater still in diabetes with AF. Comorbidities that impair endothelial activity worsen endothelial dysfunction and exercise intolerance in AF. The advantages of CV appear to be inversely related to the extent of the underlying oxidative injury.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Volume291
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • Arrhythmias
  • Endothelium
  • Exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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