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heart failure, left ventricular function, physical fitness, resistance training



  1. Palevo, Gregory PhD
  2. Keteyian, Steven J. PhD
  3. Kang, Minsoo PhD
  4. Caputo, Jennifer L. PhD


PURPOSE: This study determined the effect of a structured isotonic strength training (ST) program on left ventricular (LV) function (ejection fraction, stroke volume, and end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes) and physical fitness (6-minute walk test, upper body strength, lower body strength, and body composition) in patients with New York Heart Association class II and III heart failure.


METHODS: Sixteen patients were randomized into 2 groups, ST and usual care. The ST group (10 patients) performed 24 ST exercise sessions (3 per week, 8 weeks), while the usual care (6 patients) group followed routine medical care. The structured isotonic ST program involved 12 different exercises on circuit weight machines. LV function (3D echocardiography) and physical fitness were assessed at baseline and 8 weeks.


RESULTS: Modest improvements (P < .05) in resting ejection fraction (0.32-0.37) and stroke volume (46 to 53 mL/beat), as well as in muscular strength and 6-minute walk distance, were found after training.


CONCLUSIONS: A short-term structured isotonic ST program appears to improve selected measures of resting LV function and fitness in patients with mild congestive heart failure. Additional studies utilizing larger numbers of subjects, including women, are needed.