Background: There are little data on the optimization of high-intensity aerobic interval exercise (HIIE) protocols in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Therefore, we compared acute cardiopulmonary responses to 4 different HIIE protocols to identify the optimal one.
Methods and results: Twenty men with stable systolic CHF performed 4 different randomly ordered single HIIE sessions with measurement of gas exchange. For all protocols (A, B, C, and D) exercise intensity was set at 100% of peak power output (PPO). Interval duration was 30 seconds (A and B) or 90 seconds (C and D), and recovery was passive (A and C) or active (50% of PPO in B and D). Time spent above 85% of VO(2peak) and time above the ventilatory threshold were similar across all 4 HIIE protocols. Total exercise time was significantly longer in protocols with passive recovery intervals (A: 1,651 ± 347 s; C: 1,574 ± 382 s) compared with protocols with active recovery intervals (B: 986 ± 542 s; D: 961 ± 556 s). All protocols appeared to be safe, with exercise tolerance being superior during protocol A.
Conclusion: Among the 4 HIIE protocols tested, protocol A with short intervals and passive recovery appeared to be superior.
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