Exercise Doppler echocardiography has been recognised as an accurate method for the assessment of left ventricular function in patients with coronary artery disease. Gender differences in aortic flow parameters during exercise have not been well established. The aims of this study were to compare basal ejection Doppler indexes in healthy early postmenopausal women with those of men, and to assess the effects of both isometric and dynamic exercises on these parameters.Design.
Intergroup comparison between early postmenopausal women and middle-aged menSubjects.
Fifteen healthy women with a mean age of 55 (SD 5) years and 15 healthy men aged 52 (SD 4) were evaluated.Setting.
Women were recruited from a menopause clinic and men from a primary cardiovascular prevention program at a cardiac rehabilitation institute.Interventions.
Isometric exercise was performed with a 2-hand bar dynamometer, and dynamic exercise with a supine ergometer. Echo Doppler examination was performed at rest and at peak isometric and dynamic exercise with a pulsed Doppler transducer.Results.
Both types of exercise resulted in higher values of hemodynamic parameters in the women, with most figures reaching statistical significance. Most aortic flow parameters during rest and exercise were also significantly higher in the women.Conclusions.
The unexpected higher values in hemodynamic and aortic flow parameters in early postmenopausal women as compared with middle aged men may shed light on a peculiar aspect of gender differences in cardiovascular function, perhaps specific to this age group and related to menopausal transition.