Aortic augmentation index in endurance athletes: a role for cardiorespiratory fitness

Denham, Joshua ORCID: and Brown, Nicholas J. and Tomaszewski, Maciej and Williams, Bryan and O'Brien, Brendan J. and Charchar, Fadi J. (2016) Aortic augmentation index in endurance athletes: a role for cardiorespiratory fitness. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 116 (8). pp. 1537-1544. ISSN 1439-6319


Purpose: Endurance exercise improves cardiovascular health and reduces mortality risk. Augmentation index (AIx) reflects adverse loading exerted on the heart and large arteries and predicts future cardiovascular disease. The purpose of this study was to establish whether endurance athletes possess lower AIx and aortic blood pressure compared to healthy controls, and to determine the association between AIx and cardiorespiratory fitness. Methods: Forty-six endurance athletes and 43 healthy controls underwent central BP and AIx measurements by non-invasive applanation tonometry before a maximal exercise test. Peak oxygen uptake (V˙ O 2 peak) was assessed by pulmonary analysis. Results: Relative to controls, athletes had significantly lower brachial diastolic blood pressure (BP, −4.8 mmHg, p < 0.01), central systolic BP (−3.5 mmHg, p = 0.07), and AIx at a heart rate of 75 beats min−1 (AIx@75, −11.9 %, p < 0.001). No AIx@75 differences were observed between athletes and controls when adjusted for age and V˙ O 2 peak [athletes vs controls mean (%) ± SE: −6.9 ± 2.2 vs −5.7 ± 2.3, p = 0.76]. Relative to men with low V˙ O 2 peak, those with moderate and high V˙ O 2 peak had lower age-adjusted AIx@75 (p < 0.001). In women, those with high V˙ O 2 peak had lower AIx@75 than those with low and moderate V˙ O 2 peak (p < 0.01). Conclusions: The lower AIx@75 in endurance athletes is partly mediated by V˙ O 2 peak. While an inverse relationship between AIx@75 and V˙ O 2 peak was found in men, women with the highest V˙ O 2 peak possessed lowest AIx@75 compared to females with moderate or poor cardiorespiratory fitness. We recommend aerobic training aimed at achieving a minimum V˙ O 2 peak of 45 ml kg−1 min−1 to decrease the risk of future cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 43632
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2021 03:49
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 02:44
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arterial stiffness; Cardiovascular health; Central blood pressure; VO2max
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110602 Exercise Physiology
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420702 Exercise physiology
Identification Number or DOI:

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only