Benefits of exercise training on coronary blood flow in coronary artery disease patients

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Mar-Apr;57(5):443-53. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2014.10.006. Epub 2014 Nov 6.


Every 34 seconds an American experiences a myocardial infarction or cardiac death. Approximately 80% of these coronary artery disease (CAD)-related deaths are attributable to modifiable behaviors, such as a lack of physical exercise training (ET). Regular ET decreases CAD morbidity and mortality through systemic and cardiac-specific adaptations. ET increases myocardial oxygen demand acting as a stimulus to increase coronary blood flow and thus myocardial oxygen supply, which reduces myocardial infarction and angina. ET augments coronary blood flow through direct actions on the vasculature that improve endothelial and coronary smooth muscle function, enhancing coronary vasodilation. Additionally, ET promotes collateralization, thereby, increasing blood flow to ischemic myocardium and also treats macrovascular CAD by attenuating the progression of coronary atherosclerosis and restenosis, potentially through stabilization of atherosclerotic lesions. In summary, ET can be used as a relatively safe and inexpensive way to prevent and treat CAD.

Keywords: Coronary artery disease; Coronary blood flow; Exercise.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Collateral Circulation
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease / mortality
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / therapy*
  • Coronary Circulation*
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Exercise Therapy* / standards
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Recovery of Function
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome