During the first few minutes of exercise, the amount of oxygen per heartbeat increases and
continues to rise as the heart carries the oxygen to the blood. A new study shows less oxygen
to the body after the first few minutes of exercise could signal heart trouble.
Researchers studied nearly 100 patients between ages 55 and 75 who had mild hypertension.
Researchers measured the patients' heart sizes and performance at rest by using an ultrasound and
tissue Doppler imaging. They compared these results with heart performance tests that measured
oxygen usage during exercise.
Results of the study show patients who delivered less oxygen to the body per beat after the first
few minutes of exercise had reduced levels of heart function. Researchers say this finding could
help doctors follow the progress of patients with problems in the left ventricle. However, they
say more research is needed to determine whether oxygen pulse during exercise is a useful
screening tool for identifying heart problems.
Research shows that patients with mild hypertension have some reductions in heart function. It
was found that their hearts were not operating efficiently during exercise, and this was matched
with decreased heart function at rest as revealed by newer imaging methods.