Aim: To assess changes in quality of life (QoL) and oxygen consumption produced by two different patterns of physical training in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF).
Material and methods: 42 men (mean age 55.9+/-8.1 years) with ischaemic CHF lasting 3.1+/-1.0 years. Patients were randomised into three groups each consisting of 14 men: group A--with constant workload, group B-with progressive/increasing workload, each trained up to 6 months and group C--not trained. QoL was assessed at baseline and at 6 months by means of the Psychological General Well-being Index (PGWB) and the Subjective Symptoms Assessment Profile (SSA-P). Cardiopulmonary exercise test and echocardiography were performed twice.
Results: At 6 months improvement in PGWB total index was observed, both in groups A and B (p<0.01). Men from groups A and B reported less cardiac symptoms (p<0.01), emotional distress (p<0.01), peripheral circulatory symptoms (p<0.01) and dizziness (p<0.01) in SSA-P. Improvement in sexual life was observed only in group B (p<0.01). Overall improvement of QoL was greater in group B than in group A as well as oxygen uptake (p<0.01). Higher QoL correlated positively with peak VO2 only in group B (r=0.56, p<0.05).
Conclusions: Physical training improves QoL in men with CHF, but only progressive/increasing workload seems to markedly improve oxygen uptake. Improvement of QoL is related to psychological well-being and physical complaints associated with CHF.