Send to

Choose Destination
JAMA. 2012 Aug 1;308(5):465-74. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.8720.

Effects of exercise training on depressive symptoms in patients with chronic heart failure: the HF-ACTION randomized trial.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, PO Box 3119, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Erratum in

  • JAMA. 2012 Nov 7;308(17):1742.



Depression is common in patients with cardiac disease, especially in patients with heart failure, and is associated with increased risk of adverse health outcomes. Some evidence suggests that aerobic exercise may reduce depressive symptoms, but to our knowledge the effects of exercise on depression in patients with heart failure have not been evaluated.


To determine whether exercise training will result in greater improvements in depressive symptoms compared with usual care among patients with heart failure.


Multicenter, randomized controlled trial involving 2322 stable patients treated for heart failure at 82 medical clinical centers in the United States, Canada, and France. Patients who had a left ventricular ejection fraction of 35% or lower, had New York Heart Association class I to IV heart failure, and had completed the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) score were randomized (1:1) between April 2003 and February 2007. Depressive scores ranged from 0 to 59; scores of 14 or higher are considered clinically significant.


Participants were randomized either to supervised aerobic exercise (goal of 90 min/wk for months 1-3 followed by home exercise with a goal of ≥120 min/wk for months 4-12) or to education and usual guideline-based heart failure care.


Composite of death or hospitalization due to any cause and scores on the BDI-II at months 3 and 12.


Over a median follow-up period of 30 months, 789 patients (68%) died or were hospitalized in the usual care group compared with 759 (66%) in the aerobic exercise group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.89; 95% CI, 0.81 to 0.99; P = .03). The median BDI-II score at study entry was 8, with 28% of the sample having BDI-II scores of 14 or higher. Compared with usual care, aerobic exercise resulted in lower mean BDI-II scores at 3 months (aerobic exercise, 8.95; 95% CI, 8.61 to 9.29 vs usual care, 9.70; 95% CI, 9.34 to 10.06; difference, -0.76; 95% CI,-1.22 to -0.29; P = .002) and at 12 months (aerobic exercise, 8.86; 95% CI, 8.67 to 9.24 vs usual care, 9.54; 95% CI, 9.15 to 9.92; difference, -0.68; 95% CI, -1.20 to -0.16; P = .01).


Compared with guideline-based usual care, exercise training resulted in a modest reduction in depressive symptoms, although the clinical significance of this improvement is unknown.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT00047437.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Secondary source ID, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms

Secondary source ID

Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center