Int J Cardiol 2007 Apr 1;116(3):309-14. Epub 2007 Feb 1.
Heart Failure Center, Department of Neurology, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.
Background: Exercise intolerance is a widespread and serious problem in chronic heart failure (CHF) patients. However, the impact of a supervised exercise and rehabilitation program on exercise tolerance and cardiac performance in severe CHF patients has not yet been fully investigated.
Methods: Of 56 consecutive patients with severe CHF (New York Heart Association functional class III, Stage D) 44 underwent a hospital-based supervised 18-week, cardiac exercise and rehabilitation program (exercise group), and 12 did not (control group). Cardiac performance was assessed by a 6-minute walk test, peak exercise VO(2), exercise duration time, resting and immediate post peak exercise stroke index (SI), cardiac index (CI) and systemic vascular resistance (SVR), before and after exercise.
Results: Both groups were comparable regarding baseline clinical characteristics. Post exercise training, functional and hemodynamic parameters improved significantly in the exercise group compared to controls. A highly significant interaction between the groups and change was found in the 6-minute walk test (p<0.001), exercise test duration (p<0.001), METs during exercise (p<0.001), immediate post peak exercise CI (0.016), delta peak VO(2) (p=0.028), and immediate post peak exercise SVR (p=0.045).
Conclusions: A hospital-based supervised exercise and rehabilitation program significantly improves functional and hemodynamic parameters in severe CHF patients, and may partially contribute to better physical conditioning detected in these patients after exercise training.