Physical Activity, Fitness, and Obesity in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction

JACC Heart Fail. 2018 Dec;6(12):975-982. doi: 10.1016/j.jchf.2018.09.006.


Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is common, increasing in prevalence, and refractory to available pharmacotherapies. Our understanding of HFpEF has evolved from a disorder of diastolic dysfunction to a constellation of physiologic impairments that lead to elevated left ventricular filling pressures and exercise intolerance. Accordingly, the therapeutic and preventive focus has shifted to identifying lifestyle factors that may have more pleotropic effects on the pathophysiologic mechanisms that define HFpEF. Recent studies have demonstrated that physical inactivity, low fitness, and obesity are potential modifiable targets for prevention as well as management of HFpEF. In this review, we have discussed the emerging epidemiological, mechanistic, and clinical evidence that support the role of these lifestyle factors as key determinants of development and progression of HFpEF. We also summarize the available evidence and major knowledge gaps with regard to developing exercise training and weight loss as unique and effective therapeutic strategies for management of HFpEF.

Keywords: fitness; heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; obesity; physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Stroke Volume / physiology*