We tested the hypothesis that whole‐body passive heat stress reduces arterial stiffness in older adults. At preheat stress (baseline) and when core temperature was elevated by 0.6 ± 0.2°C (mild) and 1.2 ± 0.3°C (moderate), arterial stiffness was measured in eight healthy younger (26 ± 5 years) and eight healthy older (70 ± 4 years) adults in the supine position. Arterial stiffness was estimated from carotid‐to‐femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV, applanation tonometry). cfPWV was higher at baseline in older adults (8.8 ± 2.3 m/sec vs. 5.6 ± 0.9 m/sec, P < 0.01) and this difference was maintained throughout passive heat stress (P < 0.01). cfPWV did not change (P ≥ 0.49) with passive heat stress in either younger (at moderate heat stress: 6.0 ± 1.0 m/sec) or older (at moderate heat stress: 8.5 ± 1.6 m/sec) adults. However, the influence of baseline cfPWV on the change in cfPWV during mild (r = −0.66, P = 0.04) and moderate (r = −0.87, P < 0.01) heat stress were inversely related in older adults, and the strength of these relations was not statistically different (P = 0.08). In younger adults, the influence of baseline cfPWV on the change in cfPWV during mild heat stress was also inversely related (r = −0.79, P = 0.01), while the strength of this relation was attenuated at moderate heat stress (r = −0.24, P = 0.30). Changes in arterial stiffness during passive heat stress in adults aged ≥ 65 year are likely dependent on the magnitude of baseline arterial stiffness and not necessarily age.
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Awards from the National Institutes of Health (Grants F32AG04328 and HL61388) supported this study.
Schlader, Zachary J.; Okada, Yoshiyuki; Best, Stuart A.; Fu, Qi; and Crandall, Craig G., "Arterial Stiffness During Whole-Body Passive Heat Stress in Healthy Older Adults" (2019). Kinesiology and Health Promotion Faculty Publications. 18.