Acute response to submaximal and maximal exercise consequent to beta-adrenergic blockade: Implications for the prescription of exercise

Jack H. Wilmore, Beau J. Freund, Michael J. Joyner, Gregory A. Hetrick, Albert A. Hartzell, Ralph T. Strother, Gordon A. Ewy, William E. Faris

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Forty-seven healthy male subjects, 17 to 34 years old, completed a test to exhaustion on a motor-driven treadmill to determine their maximal oxygen uptake. A second test was administered 2 days later during which the subject walked for 20 to 25 minutes at a steady-state level representing 60% of the maximal oxygen uptake as determined in the first test. The grade was then increased every 2 minutes until the subject reached the state of exhaustion. After the second test, the subjects were randomly assigned, in a double-blind manner, to either placebo, propranolol (160 mg/day), or atenolol (100 mg/day) treatment for 7 days. Exactly 1 week from the time of the second test, and 3 hours after the last medication, the subjects completed the final exercise test using the same treadmill protocol administered in the second test. Heart rate and systolic blood pressure at rest and during submaximal steady-state exercise were significantly reduced by both drugs, whereas diastolic pressure was unaffected. During submaximal steady-state exercise, cardiac output was reduced in both the placebo and atenolol groups, stroke volume was increased in both atenolol and propranolol groups, oxygen uptake was reduced in the atenolol group, pulmonary ventilation was reduced in both propranolol and atenolol groups, and the respiratory exchange ratio remained unchanged. With maximal exercise, treadmill time was significantly reduced with propranolol, pulmonary ventilation and heart rate were reduced significantly with both drugs, but maximal oxygen uptake remained unchanged. Thus, β blockade does not appear to limit ability to exercise. However, there appears to be a significant advantage to using a cardioselective rather than a nonselective beta-blocking agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)D135-D141
JournalThe American journal of cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Apr 26 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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