Clinical Impact and Associated Factors of Delayed Ambulation in Patients With Acute Heart Failure

Circ Rep. 2020 Apr 5;1(4):179-186. doi: 10.1253/circrep.CR-18-0022.


Background: In heart failure (HF) management, early ambulation is recommended to prevent physical deconditioning. The effects of delayed ambulation on later clinical outcomes and the factors linked to delayed ambulation in hospitalized HF patients, however, remain unestablished. Methods and Results: We retrospectively investigated 101 patients (mean age, 66±17 years) who were hospitalized for acute decompensated HF. During the mean follow-up of 244±15 days after hospital discharge, 34 patients had cardiovascular events leading to death or unplanned readmission. Patients with cardiovascular events had longer median days to acquire ambulation than those without cardiovascular events (11 days, IQR, 8-20 days vs. 7 days, IQR, 5-15 days, P<0.001). The optimal cut-off period until initiation of ambulation to discriminate cardiovascular events was 8 days, indicating that longer days (≥8 days) to acquire ambulation was associated with higher rates of cardiovascular events, even after adjustment of multiple confounders. On multivariate analysis, age >65 years (odds ratio [OR], 2.49; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04-6.09) and increase in blood urea nitrogen (BUN; OR, 1.04; 95% CI: 1.01-1.08) were independent predictors of delayed ambulation. Conclusions: Delayed ambulation is associated with older age and increased BUN in patients with acute HF. Time to ambulation in the recovery phase of acute HF is important, and delayed ambulation may increase the rate of cardiovascular events after hospital discharge.

Keywords: Acute heart failure; Delayed ambulation; Older age; Physical deconditioning; Prognosis.