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      Effects of Exercise Training on Autonomic Function in Chronic Heart Failure: Systematic Review

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          Objectives. Cardiac autonomic imbalance accompanies the progression of chronic heart failure (CHF). It is unclear whether exercise training could modulate autonomic control in CHF. This study aimed to review systematically the effects of exercise training on heart rate recovery (HRR) and heart rate variability (HRV) in patients with CHF. Methods. Literatures were systematically searched in electronic databases and relevant references. Only published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) focusing on exercise training for CHF were eligible for inclusion. Outcome measurements included HRR and HRV parameters. Results. Eight RCTs were eligible for inclusion and provided data on 280 participants (186 men). The participants were 52–70 years of age with New York Heart Association functional class II-III of CHF. Each study examined either aerobic or resistance exercise. Two trials addressed outcome of HRR and six HRV among these studies. Two RCTs showed that moderate aerobic exercise could improve HRR at 2 minutes after exercise training in CHF. Five of six RCTs demonstrated positive effects of exercise training on HRV which revealed the increments in high frequency (HF) and decrements in LF (low frequency)/HF ratio after training. Conclusion. Participation in an exercise training program has positive effects on cardiac autonomic balance in patients with CHF.

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          Prospective Study of Heart Rate Variability and Mortality in Chronic Heart Failure: Results of the United Kingdom Heart Failure Evaluation and Assessment of Risk Trial (UK-Heart)

          Patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) have a continuing high mortality. Autonomic dysfunction may play an important role in the pathophysiology of cardiac death in CHF. UK-HEART examined the value of heart rate variability (HRV) measures as independent predictors of death in CHF. In a prospective study powered for mortality, we recruited 433 outpatients 62+/-9.6 years old with CHF (NYHA functional class I to III; mean ejection fraction, 0.41+/-0.17). Time-domain HRV indices and conventional prognostic indicators were related to death by multivariate analysis. During 482+/-161 days of follow-up, cardiothoracic ratio, SDNN, left ventricular end-systolic diameter, and serum sodium were significant predictors of all-cause mortality. The risk ratio for a 41.2-ms decrease in SDNN was 1.62 (95% CI, 1.16 to 2.44). The annual mortality rate for the study population in SDNN subgroups was 5.5% for >100 ms, 12.7% for 50 to 100 ms, and 51.4% for <50 ms. SDNN, creatinine, and serum sodium were related to progressive heart failure death. Cardiothoracic ratio, left ventricular end-diastolic diameter, the presence of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia, and serum potassium were related to sudden cardiac death. A reduction in SDNN was the most powerful predictor of the risk of death due to progressive heart failure. CHF is associated with autonomic dysfunction, which can be quantified by measuring HRV. A reduction in SDNN identifies patients at high risk of death and is a better predictor of death due to progressive heart failure than other conventional clinical measurements. High-risk subgroups identified by this measurement are candidates for additional therapy after prescription of an ACE inhibitor.
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            Exercise training improves exercise capacity and diastolic function in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: results of the Ex-DHF (Exercise training in Diastolic Heart Failure) pilot study.

            We sought to determine whether structured exercise training (ET) improves maximal exercise capacity, left ventricular diastolic function, and quality of life (QoL) in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Nearly one-half of patients with heart failure experience HFpEF, but effective therapeutic strategies are sparse. A total of 64 patients (age 65 ± 7 years, 56% female) with HFpEF were prospectively randomized (2:1) to supervised endurance/resistance training in addition to usual care (ET, n = 44) or to usual care alone (UC) (n = 20). The primary endpoint was the change in peak Vo(2) after 3 months. Secondary endpoints included effects on cardiac structure, diastolic function, and QoL. Peak Vo(2) increased (16.1 ± 4.9 ml/min/kg to 18.7 ± 5.4 ml/min/kg; p < 0.001) with ET and remained unchanged (16.7 ± 4.7 ml/min/kg to 16.0 ± 6.0 ml/min/kg; p = NS) with UC. The mean benefit of ET was 3.3 ml/min/kg (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.8 to 4.8, p < 0.001). E/e' (mean difference of changes: -3.2, 95% CI: -4.3 to -2.1, p < 0.001) and left atrial volume index (milliliters per square meter) decreased with ET and remained unchanged with UC (-4.0, 95% CI: -5.9 to -2.2, p < 0.001). The physical functioning score (36-Item Short-Form Health Survey) improved with ET and remained unchanged with UC (15, 95% CI: 7 to 24, p < 0.001). The ET-induced decrease of E/e' was associated with 38% gain in peak Vo(2) and 50% of the improvement in physical functioning score. Exercise training improves exercise capacity and physical dimensions of QoL in HFpEF. This benefit is associated with atrial reverse remodeling and improved left ventricular diastolic function. (Exercise Training in Diastolic Heart Failure-Pilot Study: A Prospective, Randomised, Controlled Study to Determine the Effects of Physical Training on Exercise Capacity and Quality of Life [Ex-DHF-P]; ISRCTN42524037). Copyright © 2011 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Heart rate recovery and treadmill exercise score as predictors of mortality in patients referred for exercise ECG.

              Both attenuated heart rate recovery following exercise and the Duke treadmill exercise score have been demonstrated to be independent predictors of mortality, but their prognostic value relative to each other has not been studied. To assess the associations among abnormal heart rate recovery, treadmill exercise score, and death in patients referred specifically for exercise electrocardiography. Prospective cohort study conducted in an academic medical center between September 1990 and December 1997, with a median follow-up of 5.2 years. A total of 9454 consecutive patients (mean [SD] age, 53 [11] years; 78% male) who underwent symptom-limited exercise electrocardiographic testing. Exclusion criteria included age younger than 30 years, history of heart failure or valvular disease, pacemaker implantation, and uninterpretable electrocardiograms. All-cause mortality, as predicted by abnormal heart rate recovery, defined as failure of heart rate to decrease by more than 12/min during the first minute after peak exercise, and by treadmill exercise score, defined as (exercise time) - (5 x maximum ST-segment deviation) - (4 x treadmill angina index). Three hundred twelve deaths occurred in the cohort. Abnormal heart rate recovery and intermediate- or high-risk treadmill exercise score were present in 20% (n = 1852) and 21% (n = 1996) of patients, respectively. In univariate analyses, death was predicted by both abnormal heart rate recovery (8% vs 2% in patients with normal heart rate recovery; hazard ratio [HR], 4.16; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.33-5.19; chi(2) = 158; P<.001) and intermediate- or high-risk treadmill exercise score (8% vs 2% in patients with low-risk scores; HR, 4.28; 95% CI, 3.43-5.35; chi(2) = 164; P<.001). After adjusting for age, sex, standard cardiovascular risk factors, medication use, and other potential confounders, abnormal heart rate recovery remained predictive of death (among the 8549 patients not taking beta-blockers, adjusted HR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.63-2.78; P<.001), as did intermediate- or high-risk treadmill exercise score (adjusted HR, 1. 49; 95% CI, 1.15-1.92; P =.002). There was no interaction between these 2 predictors. In this cohort of patients referred specifically for exercise electrocardiography, both abnormal heart rate recovery and treadmill exercise score were independent predictors of mortality. Heart rate recovery appears to provide additional prognostic information to the established treadmill exercise score and should be considered for routine incorporation into exercise test interpretation. JAMA. 2000;284:1392-1398.

                Author and article information

                Biomed Res Int
                Biomed Res Int
                BioMed Research International
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                12 October 2015
                : 2015
                1Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Zhongxing Branch of Taipei City Hospital, Taipei 10341, Taiwan
                2Department of Rehabilitation, Keelung Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Keelung 20147, Taiwan
                3School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10051, Taiwan
                4Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei 10002, Taiwan
                5Physical Therapy Center of National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei 10002, Taiwan
                Author notes
                *Meng-Yueh Chien: mychien@

                Academic Editor: Andrew J. Coats

                Copyright © 2015 Chung-Yin Hsu et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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