Effectiveness of home-based telerehabilitation programs on functional capacity and cardiac function in elderly heart failure patients: A prospective longitudinal study

Medicine (Baltimore). 2022 Jul 15;101(28):e29799. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000029799.


Decreased functional capacity and reduced cardiac function were the main symptoms in patients with heart failure (HF) and the incidence increases with advanced age. The guidelines recommend that exercise training should be considered for medically stable HF outpatients. Studies have confirmed that exercise can improve functional capacity, prognosis, and reduced hospitalization rates; however, very few studies have investigated the elderly. It is not clear whether exercise could be feasible in elderly HF. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the 6-month heart failure post-acute care program focused on home-based cardiac telerehabilitation (HCTR) on functional capacity, cardiac function, and readmission rates in HF patients. A prospective longitudinal study was conducted. Study duration was from January 2018 to December 2019. HF patients with a left ventricular ejection fraction <40% and age ≧65 years were included and divided into intervention (n = 40) and control group (n = 41). We arranged a 6-month heart failure post-acute care program that included outpatient cardiac rehabilitation and home exercise for the intervention group. The response to home exercise was followed by telemonitor. The exercise parameters were recorded on the HF health management mobile application system platform by each patient and daily transmission to hospital's cloud database as HCTR, usual care program for the control group. Information such as general data, laboratory data, six-minute walk test, cardiac function, and admission record was collected from all patients. Eighty one patients between the ages of 65 and 92 completed the study. The mean age was 73.3 ± 5.0 and 75.6 ± 6.0 years in control and intervention group, respectively. The intervention group showed a statistically significant improvement in functional capacity, percentage change in the of six-minute walk distance (51.2% vs 17.7%, P < .05, 95% confidence interval -45.9 to -6.3). Left ventricular ejection fraction increased by 7.7%, which corresponds to 25.6% in relative terms (P < .05, 95% confidence interval -7.8 to -0.5). The readmission rate was 4.6% in the intervention group. Six months of post-acute HF focused on HCTR programs was safe, improved functional capacity, cardiac function, and decreased readmission rate in elderly patients with HF patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Stroke Volume
  • Telerehabilitation*
  • Ventricular Function, Left