Effect of Training on Vascular Function and Repair in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction

JACC Heart Fail. 2023 Apr;11(4):454-464. doi: 10.1016/j.jchf.2022.12.011. Epub 2023 Mar 1.


Background: Exercise training improves peak oxygen uptake (V.O2peak) in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Multiple adaptations have been addressed, but the role of circulating endothelium-repairing cells and vascular function have not been well defined.

Objectives: The authors investigated effects of moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on vascular function and repair in HFpEF.

Methods: This study is a subanalysis of the OptimEx-Clin (Optimizing Exercise Training in Prevention and Treatment of Diastolic Heart Failure) study randomizing patients with HFpEF (n = 180) to HIIT, MICT, or guideline control. At baseline, 3, and 12 months, the authors measured peripheral arterial tonometry (valid baseline measurement in n = 109), flow-mediated dilation (n = 59), augmentation index (n = 94), and flow cytometry (n = 136) for endothelial progenitor cells and angiogenic T cells. Abnormal values were defined as outside 90% of published sex-specific reference values.

Results: At baseline, abnormal values (%) were observed for augmentation index in 66%, peripheral arterial tonometry in 17%, flow-mediated dilation in 25%, endothelial progenitor cells in 42%, and angiogenic T cells in 18%. These parameters did not change significantly after 3 or 12 months of HIIT or MICT. Results remained unchanged when confining analysis to patients with high adherence to training.

Conclusions: In patients with HFpEF, high augmentation index was common, but endothelial function and levels of endothelium-repairing cells were normal in most patients. Aerobic exercise training did not change vascular function or cellular endothelial repair. Improved vascular function did not significantly contribute to the V.O2peak improvement after different training intensities in HFpEF, contrary to previous studies in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and coronary artery disease. (Optimizing Exercise Training in Prevention and Treatment of Diastolic Heart Failure [OptimEx-Clin]; NCT02078947).

Keywords: HFpEF; cardiac rehabilitation; endothelial function; endothelial progenitor cells; flow-mediated dilation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Heart Failure*
  • Heart Failure, Diastolic*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stroke Volume / physiology

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02078947