Effect of aerobic exercise training on fatigue and physical activity in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension

Respir Med. 2013 May;107(5):778-84. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2013.02.006. Epub 2013 Mar 7.


Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of an exercise intervention for decreasing fatigue severity and increasing physical activity in individuals with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). A small, phase 2 randomized clinical trial of the effect of aerobic exercise training on fatigue severity and physical activity in patients with idiopathic or PAH associated with other conditions was conducted.

Methods: Twenty-four patients with PAH (24 female; age: 54.4 ± 10.4 years; BMI: 30.8 ± 7.2 kg/m(2)) participated in the study. A convenience sample was recruited in which 9% (28 of 303) of screened patients were enrolled. The project was carried out in a clinical pulmonary rehabilitation clinic during existing pulmonary rehabilitation program sessions. Patients with PH were randomized into a 10-week program that consisted of patient education only or patient education plus an aerobic exercise-training regimen. Both groups received 20 lectures, two per week over the 10-weeks, on topics related to PAH and its management. The aerobic exercise training consisted of 24-30 sessions of treadmill walking for 30-45 min per session at an intensity of 70-80% of heart rate reserve, three days per week over the 10 weeks.

Results: After 10-weeks of intervention, patients receiving aerobic exercise training plus education reported routinely engaging in higher levels of physical activity (p < 0.05) and a decrease in fatigue severity (p = 0.03). Patients in the education only group did not report changes in fatigue severity or participation in physical activity.

Conclusions: The 10-week aerobic exercise training intervention resulted in increased physical activity and decreased fatigue in individuals with PAH. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00678821.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking / physiology
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00678821