Background: Physical training currently constitutes an important part of treatment of heart failure patients. So far, no data are available on the effects of regular exercise in elderly (aged > 65 years) heart failure patients.
Methods: In a prospective trial, patients with chronic heart failure (New York Heart Association class II and III) were randomly assigned to a training group and a control group. Patients in the training group performed additional exercises three times a week, while patients in the control group continued regular treatment. To analyse the influence of age, both groups were subdivided into subjects younger than and older than 65 years. The effect of training on exercise parameters was evaluated by means of a treadmill test. Quality of life aspects were evaluated with the help of the Heart Patients Psychological Questionnaire and a single-question Self Awareness of General Well-Being test.
Results: Comparison of changes between groups revealed that training increased the duration of the exercise test and improved aspects of quality of life in the trained patients aged both younger than and older than 65 years.
Conclusion: Exercise training is equally effective in patients aged younger than and older than 65 years.