Exercise Modestly Benefits Patients With Heart Failure

Aerobic exercise reduces mortality, hospitalization and improves self-reported health status
By A. Agrawal, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with heart failure have modest reductions in mortality and hospitalization, as well as improvements in self-reported health status, after implementation of an aerobic exercise program, according to two studies published in the April 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Christopher M. O'Connor, M.D., from the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C., and colleagues randomly assigned 2,331 medically stable outpatients with heart failure and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction to usual care alone or combined with aerobic exercise training. After a median follow-up of 30 months, and only after adjusting for possible confounding factors, the researchers found that the exercise training group had modest but significant reductions in all-cause mortality or hospitalization (hazard ratio 0.89), cardiovascular mortality or cardiovascular hospitalization (hazard ratio 0.91), and cardiovascular mortality or heart failure hospitalization (hazard ratio 0.85). The two groups had similar adverse events, the authors note.

In the second study, Kathryn E. Flynn, Ph.D., also of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and colleagues used the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) to assess self-reported health status of the patients in the same trial group. The KCCQ was given every three months for the first year, then annually for up to four years.

"Exercise training conferred modest but statistically significant improvements in self-reported health status compared with usual care without training," the authors conclude. "Improvements occurred early and persisted over time."

Abstract - O'Connor
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Abstract - Flynn
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