Background: Patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) exhibit an impaired exercised tolerance that dramatically limits their functional capacity and alters their quality of life.
Design: The aim of this study was to compare the effects of two types of training programmes on isokinetic muscle strength and aerobic capacities in patients with CHF.
Methods: A group of 23 stable CHF patients included consecutively followed an exercise training programme, 3 days a week for 8 weeks. The first group (P1, n=11) exercised on a cycloergometer for 45 min at 65% of peak VO2. The second group (P2, n=12) followed a 45-min combined bicycle and quadricipital strength training. Strength training consisted of 10 series of 10 repetitions at 70% of maximal voluntary force. Incremental maximal cardiopulmonary exercise tests as well as an isokinetic quadricipital dynamometry evaluation were performed before and after training.
Results and conclusions: In P1, peak VO2 increased by 20% (22.3+/-4.9 versus 17.8+/-4.5 ml min(-1) kg(-1); P<0.05) without any significant change in isokinetic muscle strength. In P2, peak VO2 improved within the same range (20.5+/-2.8 versus 18.6+/-3.7 ml min(-1) kg(-1); P<0.01). This last rehabilitation programme significantly increased isokinetic muscle strength at each angular velocities (+10.5+/-13.5%, P<0.04; +5.6+/-7.0%, P<0.03; for 180 degrees s(-1) and 60 degrees s(-1) respectively). Only the combined endurance/strength training programme was associated with an improvement in both peak VO2 and peripheral muscle strength, two significant parameters of outcome and quality of life in CHF.