Heart rate response to graded exercise test of elderly subjects in different ranges of TSH levels

ABSTRACT Objective: Life expectancy is increasing worldwide and studies have been demonstrating that elevated serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration in elderly is associated with some better health outcomes. This elevation is somewhat physiological as aging. The aim of this study was to investigate the heart rate (HR) response during a graded exercise test and its recovery in healthy elderly, comparing subjects within serum TSH in the lower limit of reference range to those within the TSH in the upper limit. Subjects and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 86 healthy elderly aged 71.5 ± 5.1 years, with serum TSH between 0.4 – 4.0 mUl/mL. The participants were divided into two groups according to TSH level: < 1.0 mUl/mL (n = 13) and ≥ 1.0 µUI/mL (n = 73). All participants performed an ergometric test on a treadmill. The HR was recorded and analyzed at rest, during exercise and during the three minutes immediately after exercise. Results: No differences were observed in relation to HR at peak of exercise (TSH < 1.0 µUI/mL: 133.9 ± 22.5 bpm vs. TSH ≥ 1.0 µUI/mL: 132.4 ± 21.3 bpm; p = 0.70) and during the first minute of recovery phase (TSH < 1.0 µUI/mL: 122.3 ± 23.1 bpm vs. TSH ≥ 1.0 µUI/mL: 115.7 ± 18.4 bpm p = 0.33). The groups also presented similar chronotropic index (TSH < 1.0 µUI/mL: 78.1 ± 30.6 vs. TSH ≥ 1.0 µUI/mL: 79.5 ± 26.4; p = 0.74). Conclusion: In this sample studied, there were no difference between lower and upper TSH level concerning HR response during rest, peak of exercise and exercise recovery.