As the global burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) rises, public health-related interventions aimed at prevention of heart disease have gained medical attention. Clinical research reports that exercise is a protective risk factor associated with CVD and that clinicians need to provide exercise recommendations to patients. Nevertheless, physical inactivity remains a public health problem. In certain populations, like firefighters (FF), increased risk of CVD is especially concerning. The workload FF face is extreme, 50% of line-of-duty deaths (LODD) in FF are cardiac-related, and research on the volunteer FF population is scarce. Government regulations do not require volunteer FF companies to have fitness testing or programming, so exercise intervention studies are necessary to improve the burden of CVD risk in this population. Therefore, this study examined the effects of a 4-week exercise circuit training (CT) intervention on vascular health and fitness in volunteer FF (N = 27) from the Philadelphia PA area compared to a control group of Non-FF (N = 25). Carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT), brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), augmentation index, and pulse pressure (PP), brachial and central blood pressure (BP) and fitness were measured pre- and post- intervention. Overall, volunteer FF had more significant improvements (p < 0.05) in vascular health measures (FMD, IMT, and PP). In both groups, we also found that brachial and central BP decreased with exercise. We show that a 4 week CT program can improve vascular structure and function in the volunteer FF population, suggesting that clinicians may be able to reduce or prevent cardiac LODD by exercise.



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Preventive Medicine Reports



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This is an article published by Elsevier in Preventive Medicine Reports in 2018, available online: