Effect of training with partial blood flow restriction in older adults: a systematic review

Abstract Low-intensity training with blood flow restriction (BFR) has been suggested as an alternative to physical training for older adults. The present study aimed to review the literature regarding the effect of training with BFR for older adults. The search strategy consisted of experimental studies aimed at verifying the effects of training with BFR on any outcome in older adults. An electronic search in PubMed / Medline, Bireme Scielo, Lilacs and Cochrane Library databases, published until December 2015 was conducted. Experimental studies that considered individuals aged 50 years and over published in English or Portuguese, were included. The Downs & Black scale was used to assess the methodological quality of articles. Of the 60 studies, 12 were included in the review. Training with BFR improved body mass, torque and muscle power; functional capacity; bone health; venous compliance; peak oxygen uptake; and blood flow; balance and overall performance. The methodological quality of studies had mean score of 16.2 points (SD = 1.6). The prescription of low-intensity exercises with BFR may be an alternative of training for older adults. However, future studies should address the methodological quality, especially external validity and power, the main gaps in articles reviewed in this study.