In animal models, physical activity (PA) prevents cardiac myocyte cell death. Data for PA mitigating myocyte injury in humans are limited to observational studies. Using a randomized controlled trial design, we sought to determine if introducing moderate PA to previously sedentary older adults could reduce the trajectory of myocardial injury as measured by the high-sensitive cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) assay.Methods
Participants (age ≥70 years) were assigned to a 1-year intervention of moderate PA or health education control. High-sensitive cTnT was measured at baseline and 1 year in the 307 of 424 subjects who had available stored serum. Changes in hs-cTnT within 1 year were compared between PA and control groups, as were differences in the proportion of subjects with a significant rise in hs-cTnT (prospectively defined as a>50% increase at follow-up from baseline). Moderate to vigorous PA in kcal/wk was estimated with the CHAMPS questionnaire.Results
Baseline hs-cTnT levels and PA kcal/wk were similar for both groups. Activity kcal/wk increased in the PA, but not in the control group at 1 year. The median increase in hs-cTnT level from baseline was >3 times larger in the control (0.73 ng/L, interquartile range −0.64 to 2.59) vs the PA group (0.19ng/L, interquartile range −1.10 to 1.93) (P=.02). The proportion with a>50% increase in hs-cTnT was larger in the control group than in the PA group (9.3% vs 5.1%), but this difference was not statistically significant (P=.16).Conclusions
Initiation of moderate PA in sedentary older adults may favorably modify subclinical myocardial injury.