Effects of physical training on myocardial vascularity and perfusion.
Physical training is thought to be a stimulus for coronary vascular growth and coronary collateral development. This report is a summary of knowledge in the area. Studies in experimental animals with normal hearts indicate that physical training promotes increased myocardial capillary density and also causes enlargement of the surface coronary vessels. The physiologic effect of these changes on coronary vascular reserve and protection of segments of the heart against myocardial ischemia has not been established. Physically trained dogs and pigs do not appear to be protected against the effects of coronary occlusion, in that the ischemic area appears to be as large in trained animals as in untrained animals for any given coronary lesion. One study in physically trained rats appears to show protection against myocardial infarction, but whether this is related to coronary vascular changes has not been established. Experiments in dogs subjected to chronic narrowing or gradual occlusion demonstrate that physical training in these models does promote collateral blood flow as measured by retrograde flow in open-chest experiments. Studies using the microsphere technique in closed-chest animals confirms increased collateral flow to ischemic areas in some animals, but the magnitude of the increases appears to be small and varies greatly from animal to animal. Studies in athletes suggest that myocardial blood flow is lower at any submaximal level of training in athletes than in sedentary persons. Studies in patients with coronary artery disease have generally failed to show an increase in coronary blood flow or in perfusion of ischemic areas after physical training programs, but the techniques used might not have been sensitive enough to detect changes. The evidence in the experimental animals is sufficiently promising to indicate that the search should be continued to define physical training programs that will most stimulate myocardial vascularity and coronary collaterals in humans.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association