Effects on quality of life, symptoms and daily activity 6 months after termination of an exercise training programme in heart failure patients

Int J Cardiol. 2001 Jan;77(1):25-31. doi: 10.1016/s0167-5273(00)00383-1.


Background: Exercise training in heart failure patients improves exercise capacity, physical function, and quality-of-life. Prior studies indicate a rapid loss of these effects following termination of the training. We wanted to assess any sustained post-training effects on patients global assessment of change in quality-of-life (PGACQoL) and physical function.

Methods: Fifty-four stable heart failure patients were randomised to exercise or control. The 4-month exercise programme consisted of bicycle training at 80% of maximal intensity three times/week, and 49 patients completed the active study period. At 10 months (6 months post training) 37 patients were assessed regarding PGACQoL, habitual physical activity, and dyspnea-fatigue-index.

Results: Both post-training patients (n=17) and controls (n=20) deteriorated PGACQoL during the 6-month extended follow-up, although insignificantly. However, post-training patients improved PGACQoL slightly but significantly from baseline to 10 months (P=0.006), differing significantly (P=0.023) from controls who were unchanged. Regarding dyspnea-fatigue-index, post-training patients were largely unchanged and controls deteriorated insignificantly, during the extended follow-up as well as from baseline to 10 months. Both groups decreased physical activity insignificantly during the extended follow-up, and from baseline to 10 months post-training patients tended to decrease whereas controls significantly (P=0.007) decreased physical activity.

Conclusion: There was no important sustained benefit 6 months after termination of an exercise training programme in heart failure patients. A small, probably clinically insignificant sustained improvement in PGACQoL was seen in post-training patients. Controls significantly decreased the habitual physical activity over 10 months and post-training patients showed a similar trend. Exercise training obviously has to be continuing to result in sustained benefit.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Electrocardiography
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Failure / psychology*
  • Heart Failure / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Quality of Life*
  • Safety