EuroCMR 2019: exercise improves cardiovascular health in adults born pre-term


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Cardiovascular impairments associated with premature birth may be corrected with exercise in young adulthood, according to research presented at EuroCMR 2019 in Italy at the weekend. 

With clinical trials often demonstrating cardiovascular benefits of exercise training in at-risk populations, researchers investigated whether a supervised programme could be beneficial for individuals with prematurity-related cardiovascular impairments as assessed by functional cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) parameters. 

They recruited eight pre-term and six healthy controls of 18-29 years of age who took part in a 14-week exercise programme of aerobic and resistance training three times weekly. 

The authors reported that while heart structure and function were worse in pre-term participants at the start of the study, they were similar in pre-term and control participants after the exercise programme. 

"Until now we did not know if this [cardiovascular impairments associated with premature birth] was permanent or amenable to improvement," said Professor Anne Monique Nuyt, neonatologist and co-principal investigator. "Now, for the first time, we have shown how to make preterm hearts function as well as their peers. No drugs were required - just a 14-week exercise programme."