Home-based aerobic interval training improves peak oxygen uptake equal to residential cardiac rehabilitation: a randomized, controlled trial

PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41199. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041199. Epub 2012 Jul 18.


Aerobic capacity, measured as the peak oxygen uptake, is a strong predictor of survival in cardiac patients. Aerobic interval training (AIT), walking/running four times four minutes at 85-95% of peak heart rate, has proven to be effective in increasing peak oxygen uptake in coronary heart disease patients. As some patients do not attend organized rehabilitation programs, home-based exercise should be an alternative. We investigated whether AIT could be performed effectively at home, and compared the effects on peak oxygen uptake with that observed after a standard care, four-week residential rehabilitation. Thirty patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery were randomized to residential rehabilitation or home-based AIT. At six months follow-up, peak oxygen uptake increased 4.6 (±2.7) and 3.9 (±3.6) mL·kg(-1) min(-1) (both p<0.005, non-significant between-group difference) after residential rehabilitation and AIT, respectively. Quality of life increased significantly in both groups, with no statistical significant difference between groups. We found no evidence for a different treatment effect between patients randomized to home-based AIT compared to patients attending organized rehabilitation (95% confidence interval -1.8, 3.5). AIT patients reported good adherence to exercise training. Even though these first data indicate positive effects of home-based AIT in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, more studies are needed to provide supporting evidence for the application of this rehabilitation strategy.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00363922.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / methods
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Heart Diseases / therapy*
  • Home Care Services
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / rehabilitation
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Patient Compliance
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00363922