Abstract 3957: Dancing in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure: A new Form of Exercise Training?
There is evidence that aerobic exercise (ET) improves functional capacity in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). However, it is unknown whether dancing may be safe and able to improve functional capacity in CHF patients. We prospectively studied 110 patients with stable CHF (89 males, mean age 59±11 years) in NYHA classes II and III and LV ejection fraction <40%. Patients were randomized to supervised ET (cycling, treadmill) at 70% of peak VO2 3 times a week for 8 weeks (group E, n=44), or to a dance protocol of alternate slow (5 min) and fast (3 min) waltz lasting 21 minutes s (group D, n=44). A group was not exercised and served as control (group C, n=22). Dance sessions were performed in the hospital’s gym 3 times a week for 8 weeks. Heart rate was monitored during exercise sessions and dancing in all patients. On study entry and at 8 weeks all patients underwent a cardiopulmonary exercise testing until volitional fatigue, 2D-echo with Doppler, and endothelium-dependent dilation (EDD) of the brachial artery. Quality of life (QOL) was assessed by Minnesota Heart Failure Living Questionnaire.
Results: heart rate during exercise training was 110±15 beats/min, while during dancing was 113±19 beats/min (P NS). Peak VO2, anaerobic threshold, VE/VCO2 slope, and VO2/W slope were all similarly improved in both groups E and D (+16% and 18%, 20% and 21%, 14% and 15%, 18% and 19%, respectively, P NS for all comparisons, P<0.001 vs controls). EDD was also similarly improved in both groups( P<0.001 vs C). Ejection fraction was not significantly changed in both E and D groups. However, E/A ratio was decreased in both E and D patients (P<0.05 vs C). QOL was surprisingly more significantly improved in D group than E group (group D: from 56±18 to 41±16; group E: from 58±20 to 48±21, P<0.05), in particular the emotional domain. Changes in peak VO2 was correlated with changes in E/A ratio (r= -.58,P<0.001) and changes in EDD (r= 0.64,P<0.001). Untoward events were rare in both groups and did not require withdrawal. In conclusion, dancing (waltz) improves functional capacity and QOL in CHF patients without important side effects, and it may be considered in combination or as an alternative to ET.