The aged heart shows a predisposition to arrhythmias and failure under stress, such as with exercise. There is a decrease in maximal oxygen consumption (VO2) due to decreased maximal cardiac output and decreased maximal A-V O2 difference.
Left ventricle end-diastolic pressure is increased due to elevated myocardial and/or pericardial stiffness, and consequently pulmonary wedge pressure, i.e. the transmural pressure experienced by pulmonary capillaries, is increased.
Maximal heart rate declines with increasing age (Figure 3.12), as does stroke volume, and their product, cardiac output.
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