Background: Although a wide spectrum of resistance exercise intensities was recommended in the guidelines, none of them investigated the acute effects of different intensities of the resistance exercise on cardiac autonomic function in patients with chronic heart failure. This study aimed to investigate the acute effects of the low and high intensities of the resistance exercise on heart rate variability in chronic heart failure.
Methods: This randomized controlled trial was performed between October 2019 and December 2020. Fifty-seven patients with chronic heart failure (New York Heart Association class II and class III) underwent hemodynamic, functional capacity, and heart rate variability (time and frequency domains) assessments. They were randomly divided into R1, R2, and control groups. The intervention consisted of performing a short aerobic exercise including 15 minutes of walking at an intensity of 50% reserved heart rate for all 3 groups and additional resistance exercise with the intensity of 50% 1-repetition maximum and 75% 1-repetition maximum for R1 and R2 groups, respectively.
Results: The standard deviation of normal to normal intervals and standard deviation of average NN intervals became significantly lower in R2 (P =.031), and both high-frequency power and low-frequency power were significantly higher in R1 (P =.039 and P =.004, respectively) after the intervention. No significant changes were observed in the control group. Between-group changes were not significant for hemodynamics and functional capacity after treatment. The between-group comparison demonstrated a significant increase in root mean square of successive differences of the NN intervals in R1 in comparison to the control (P =.035).
Conclusions: These findings indicate that resistance exercise in 50% 1-repetition maximum in comparison to 75% 1-repetition maximum had more favorable effects on the heart rate variability in chronic heart failure.