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Lancet. 1990 Jan 13;335(8681):63-6.

Effects of physical training in chronic heart failure.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.


Eleven patients with chronic heart failure secondary to ischaemic heart disease (mean [SEM] age 63.0 [2.3] years; left ventricular ejection fraction 19 [8]% undertook 8 weeks of home-based bicycle exercise training and 8 weeks of activity restriction (rest) in a physician-blind, random-order, crossover trial. Training increased exercise duration from 14.2 (1.1) min to 16.8 (1.3) min and peak oxygen consumption from 14.3 (1.1) to 16.7 (1.3) Heart rates at submaximum workloads and rate-pressure products were significantly reduced by training, and there was also a significant improvement in patient-rated symptom scores. No adverse events occurred during the training phase. Thus home-based physical training programmes are feasible even in severe chronic heart failure and have a beneficial effect on exercise tolerance, peak oxygen consumption, and symptoms. The commonly held belief that rest is the mainstay of treatment of chronic heart failure should no longer be accepted.

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