Exercise Helps Patients With Heart Failure Fight Depression

Structured exercise training may also decrease mortality rates in heart failure patients

FRIDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Structured exercise training (ET) may decrease depressive symptoms, resulting in improved long-term survival, in patients with heart failure, according to a study published in the January issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Richard V. Milani, M.D., of the Ochsner Clinical School-The University of Queensland School of Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues studied the effects of structured ET on patients with heart failure due to coronary heart disease, including 151 patients who completed the ET program and 38 who dropped out of rehabilitation without ET. Participants completed questionnaires about their depressive symptoms at baseline and after the structured ET program was completed.

The researchers found that the patients' overall rates of depressive symptoms decreased by 40 percent after ET, from 22 to 13 percent. They also found that patients who were still depressed after ET had mortality rates that were four times higher than those whose depressive symptoms resolved after exercise, and that depressed patients who remained in the ET group had a 59 percent lower mortality rate than those who dropped out.

"Structured ET is an effective method for improving quality of life and decreasing depressive symptoms in patients with heart failure," the authors write.

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