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Clin Geriatr Med. 2007 Feb;23(1):221-34.

Exercise therapy for elderly heart failure patients.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 8126, Bethesda, MD 20892-7936, USA.


Exercise intolerance is one of the hallmark symptoms of heart failure (HF). Exercise training in this condition was not explored as a therapeutic modality until the past two decades. In fact, bed rest was promoted as a treatment for certain forms of HF in the 1970s. Over the past two decades, however, data have shown convincingly that exercise training can be implemented safely in patients who have HF, with significant improvement in functional capacity, various other physiologic variables, and quality of life. This article reviews the accumulated literature in this area, with specific emphasis on the effects of exercise training in older patients who have HF, a subset that may have the most to gain from such training.

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