Chronotropic incompetence is more frequent in obese adolescents and relates to systemic inflammation and exercise intolerance.

Franssen WMA; Keytsman C; Marinus N; Verboven K; Eijnde BO; van Ryckeghem L; Dendale P; Zeevaert R;
Hansen D;

Journal of sport and health science [J Sport Health Sci] 2021 Jan 30. Date of Electronic Publication: 2021 Jan 30.

Background: Adults with obesity may display disturbed cardiac chronotropic responses during cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET), which relates to poor cardiometabolic health and an increased risk for adverse cardiovascular events. It is unknown whether cardiac chronotropic incompetence (CI) during maximal exercise is already present in obese adolescents and, if so, how that relates to cardiometabolic health.
Methods: Sixty-nine obese adolescents (body mass index (BMI) standard diviation score (SDS) 2.23 ± 0.32, age: 14.1 ± 1.2 years) and 29 lean adolescents (BMI SDS: -0.16 ± 0.84, age: 14.0 ± 1.5 years) performed a maximal CPET from which indicators for peak performance were determined. The resting heart rate (HR) and peak HR were used to calculate the maximal chronotropic response index. Biochemistry (lipid profile, glycemic control, inflammation, and leptin) was studied in fasted blood samples and during an oral glucose tolerance test within obese adolescents. Regression analyses were applied to examine associations between the presence of CI and blood or exercise capacity parameters, respectively, within obese adolescents.
Results: CI was prevalent in 32 out of 69 obese adolescents (46%) and 3 out of 29 lean adolescents (10%). C-reactive protein was significantly higher in obese adolescents with CI compared to obese adolescents without CI (p = 0.012). Furthermore, peak oxygen uptake and peak cycling power output were significantly reduced (p < 0.05) in obese adolescents with CI vs. obese adolescents without CI. The chronotropic index was independently related to blood total cholesterol (standardized coefficient (SC) β =-0.332; p = 0.012) and C-reactive protein concentration (SC β =-0.269; p = 0.039).
Conclusion: CI is more common in the current cohort of obese adolescents, and is related to systemic inflammation and exercise intolerance.