Exercise training in heart failure improves quality of life and exercise capacity

Eur Heart J. 1998 May;19(5):774-81. doi: 10.1053/euhj.1997.0853.


Aims: Benefit from exercise training in heart failure has mainly been shown in men with ischaemic disease. We aimed to examine the effects of exercise training in heart failure patients < or = 75 years old of both sexes and with various aetiology.

Methods and results: Fifty-four patients with stable mild-to-moderate heart failure were randomized to exercise or control, and 49 completed the study (49% > or = 65 years; 29% women; 24% non-ischaemic aetiology; training, n = 22; controls, n = 27). The exercise programme consisted of bicycle training at 80% of maximal intensity over a period of 4 months. Improvements vs controls were found regarding maximal exercise capacity (6 +/- 12 vs -4 +/- 12% [mean +/- SD], P < 0.01) and global quality-of-life (2 [1] vs 0 [1] units [median ¿inter-quartile range¿], P < 0.01), but not regarding maximal oxygen consumption or the dyspnoea-fatigue index. All of these four variables significantly improved in men with ischaemic aetiology compared with controls (n = 11). However, none of these variables improved in women with ischaemic aetiology (n = 5), or in patients with non-ischaemic aetiology (n = 6). The training response was independent of age, left ventricular systolic function, and maximal oxygen consumption. No training-related adverse effects were reported.

Conclusion: Supervised exercise training was safe and beneficial in heart failure patients < or = 75 years, especially in men with ischaemic aetiology. The effects of exercise training in women and patients with non-ischaemic aetiology should be further examined.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology


  • Oxygen