Exercise physiology, testing, and training in patients supported by a left ventricular assist device

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2015 Aug;34(8):1005-16. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2014.12.006. Epub 2014 Dec 20.


The left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is an accepted treatment alternative for the management of end-stage heart failure. As we move toward implantation of LVADs in less severe cases of HF, scrutiny of functional capacity and quality of life becomes more important. Patients demonstrate improvements in exercise capacity after LVAD implantation, but the effect is less than predicted. Exercise training produces multiple beneficial effects in heart failure patients, which would be expected to improve quality of life. In this review, we describe factors that are thought to participate in the persistent exercise impairment in LVAD-supported patients, summarize current knowledge about the effect of exercise training in LVAD-supported patients, and suggest areas for future research.

Keywords: exercise capacity; exercise training; heart failure; left ventricular assist device; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life