Objectives: This study investigated the effect of a very long-term exercise training program is not known in chronic heart failure (CHF) patients.
Background: We previously showed that long-term moderate exercise training (ET) improves functional capacity and quality of life in New York Heart Association class II and III CHF patients.
Methods: We studied 123 patients with CHF whose condition was stable over the previous 3 months. After randomization, a trained group (T group, n = 63) underwent a supervised ET at 60% of peak oxygen consumption (Vo(2)), 2 times weekly for 10 years, whereas a nontrained group (NT group, n = 60) did not exercise formally. The ET program was supervised and performed mostly at a coronary club with periodic control sessions twice yearly at the hospital's gym.
Results: In the T group, peak Vo(2) was more than 60% of age- and gender-predicted maximum Vo(2) each year during the 10-year study (p < 0.05 vs. the NT group). In NT patients, peak Vo(2) decreased progressively with an average of 52 ± 8% of maximum Vo(2) predicted. Ventilation relative to carbon dioxide output (VE/Vco(2)) slope was significantly lower (35 ± 9) in T patients versus NT patients (42 ± 11, p < 0.01). Quality-of-life score was significantly better in the T group versus the NT group (43 ± 12 vs. 58 ± 14, p < 0.05). During the 10-year study, T patients had a significant lower rate of hospital readmission (hazard ratio: 0.64, p < 0.001) and cardiac mortality (hazard ratio: 0.68, p < 0.001) than controls. Multivariate analysis selected peak Vo(2) and resting heart rate as independent predictors of events.
Conclusions: Moderate supervised ET performed twice weekly for 10 years maintains functional capacity of more than 60% of maximum Vo(2) and confers a sustained improvement in quality of life compared with NT patients. These sustained improvements are associated with reduction in major cardiovascular events, including hospitalizations for CHF and cardiac mortality.
Copyright © 2012 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.