ExerciseHeart Disease

Short-term exercise training for cardiac rehabilitation

Just 25 days of exercise training as part of a residential cardiac rehabilitation program improved heart muscle function, according to Dr. Stephen Crouse from Texas A&M University in College Station, who presented his findings at the annual meeting of the American Physiological Society.

First, the details.

  • 366 adults with heart failure were referred to the Center for Cardiovascular Rehabilitation in Bad Schallerbach, Austria.
  • They received 4 weeks of residential cardiac rehabilitation to improve heart function.
  • It included riding a stationary bicycle 6 times a week for 14 and 22 minutes, depending on the patient’s maximal working capacity at the start of the program.
  • They also took a brisk 45-minute walk daily, working at 60% to 70% of their maximal heart rate.

And, the results.

  • After 4 weeks, patients performed about 18% better on the stationary bike, with a significant 12% increase in maximal oxygen uptake.
  • They also experienced significant decreases in resting heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Exercise training as part of a residential cardiac rehabilitation program reduced b-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), indicating an improvement in heart muscle function.
  • The reduction in NT-proBNP coincided with an increase in maximal working capacity and in cardiovascular function.

The bottom line?
In addition to the benefits on the heart, Dr. Crouse concluded that serial measurement of NT-proBNP might be a sensible marker for improvement in heart muscle improvement in patients undergoing cardiovascular rehabilitation, and may be used to document the progress of recovery.”

4/16/08 22:37 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.