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ARYA Atheroscler. 2013 Mar;9(2):150-6.

Autonomic function change following a supervised exercise program in patients with congestive heart failure.

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  • 1School of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.



Few studies have investigated changes in autonomic function after training in patients with cardiovascular diseases, particularly patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Heart rate recovery (HRR) is a strong predictor of mortality in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of 8 weeks of supervised exercise training on autonomic function, which were assessed by heart rate, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and rate-pressure product (RPP) in CHF patients.


65 patients aged 57-82 years with CHF were assigned to two groups randomly. The first group received a supervised 8-week aerobic training program of 30-45 min sessions, 3 days per week on alternate days, while controls received standard medical care and were followed up. Body weight, body mass index, functional capacity, resting heart rate, HRR, resting systolic blood pressure, peak heart rate, peak systolic blood pressure, and RPP were measured before and after the study period. Medications and diet recommendations remained unchanged in both groups during the study period.


The exercise group consisted of 33 patients with mean age of 61.54 ± 5.89 years and the controls were 32 patients with mean age of 60.94 ± 5.03 years. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures revealed a statistically significant difference in the exercise group compared to the control group regarding body mass index, resting heart rate, heart rate recover, functional capacity, peak heart rate, peak systolic blood pressure, peak RPP after 8 weeks (P ≤ 0.05).


In conclusion, a multidisciplinary CR program with supervised exercise training support significantly improves functional capacity and autonomic function in CHF patients. Therefore, a supervised and guided exercise training program is safe and beneficial for patients with CHF with different etiologies.


Aerobic Exercise; Autonomic Function; CHF; Cardiorespiratory Fitness; Hemodynamics

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