1. Norman, Joseph F. PT, PhD, CCS, FAACVPR


Heart failure (HF) is considered a condition primarily associated with the older population, with approximately 80% of individuals admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of HF being over the age of 65 years. With the 'aging of the population' in the United States the incidence of HF is expected to continue to rise. Therefore many of the older individuals seen by physical therapists for an array of conditions will have HF as a primary diagnosis or comorbidity which needs to be addressed in developing their plan of care. Current evidence supports the safety and efficacy of exercise training as a component in the overall medical management of individuals with stable HF regardless of age. The primary aims of this article are to review the benefits associated with exercise training in individuals with HF and present the current recommendations for aerobic, resistance and inspiratory muscle exercise training along with recommendations for monitoring and modifying exercise training programs. Clinically, exercise training has been shown to have a significant effect on improving functional capacity, oxygen consumption, 6-minute walk test distances, symptoms, self-efficacy for exercise, and quality of life of individuals with HF. It is important that physical therapists adequately challenge individuals with HF with appropriate exercise intensities, while closely monitoring their patients, in order to achieve optimal functional benefits and quality of life.