Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) tend to have higher blood pressure and are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease when compared to healthy age-matched women. Chronic passive heat exposure (CPHE) has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and decrease blood pressure in healthy, sedentary individuals. PURPOSE: To compare the efficacy of CPHE with regards to cardiovascular health between sedentary women with and without PCOS. METHODS: Ten women, four with PCOS (233 yr; 421 BMI) and six lean, age-matched controls without PCOS (22­­­­1 yr; 221 BMI), underwent a CPHE protocol consisting of 60-90 minute hot tub sessions at 40.5º C 3-5 times per week over 8 weeks (30-36 sessions total). Blood pressure and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (BA-PWV), a measure of arterial stiffness, were assessed at 0, 4 and 8 weeks of the protocol. RESULTS: At 0 weeks, women with PCOS had higher mean arterial pressure (MAP) than control women (901 mmHg vs 811 mmHg; p=0.003). Following four weeks of CPHE, MAP tended to decrease in control women (78mmHg; p=0.184) and significantly decreased in women with PCOS (81 mmHg; p=0.001). In addition, the difference in MAP between lean, sedentary women and those with PCOS disappeared at 4 weeks (p=0.337). MAP continued to decrease through 8 weeks in both groups (PCOS: 801 mmHg vs Control: 762 mmHg; p= 0.19). Similar decreases were observed in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic pressure (DBP), where women with PCOS began with higher SBP than control women (124 3 mmHg vs 108 2 mmHg; p= 0.002) and DBP (732 mmHg vs 671 mmHg; p= 0.05) at 0 weeks, and by 8 weeks the difference between control and PCOS disappeared in both SBP (109 2 mmHg vs 104 3 mmHg; p= 0.26) and DBP (621 mmHg vs 65mmHg; p=0.329), despite both groups experiencing a significant decrease over the 8 week time period. BA-PWV was not significantly different between controls and women with PCOS at 0 weeks (83431 cm/s vs 77232 cm/s; p= 0.23) or 8 weeks (76647 cm/s vs 76829 cm/s; p= 0.96), but women with PCOS tended to decrease over the course of 8 weeks (p=0.178). CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that CPHE reduces blood pressure in women with or without PCOS. Additionally, CPHE may reduce arterial stiffness in women with PCOS. In combination, these data suggest that women with PCOS, who have higher baseline cardiovascular risk, may benefit from CPHE more than healthy women with lower risk. This indicates that CPHE may be an effective treatment to restore various measures of cardiovascular health to optimal values in women with PCOS.

Supported by American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship 16PRE27780085 and Eugene & Clarissa Evonuk Memorial Fellowship

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