Aims: Despite proven benefits of cardiac rehabilitation (CR), currently proposed CR models are not acceptable for many heart failure (HF) patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a new model of home-based telemonitored cardiac rehabilitation (HTCR) using walking training compared with an outpatient-based standard cardiac rehabilitation (SCR) using interval training on a cycle ergometer.
Methods and results: The study included 152 HF patients (aged 58.1 + or - 10.2 years, NYHA class II and III, ejection fraction < or = 40%) who were randomized to HTCR (n = 77) or SCR (n = 75). All patients underwent 8 weeks of CR. Both groups were comparable in terms of demographic and clinical characteristics and medical therapy. The effectiveness of CR was assessed by changes in NYHA class, peak oxygen consumption, 6-min walking test distance, and SF-36 score. Cardiac rehabilitation resulted in a significant improvement of all parameters in both groups. All patients in the HTCR group completed the 8 weeks of CR, whereas 15 patients in the SCR group (20%) discontinued CR.
Conclusion: In patients with HF, HTCR is equally as effective as SCR and provides a similar improvement in quality of life. Adherence to CR seems to be better for HTCR. Home-based telemonitored cardiac rehabilitation may be a useful alternative form of CR in patients with HF.