Abstract 12972: Simulated High Altitude Training: A Novel Method for Improving Exercise Performance in Patients with Chronic Systolic Heart Failure
Background: Physiological adaptation to altitude serves to improve O2 delivery to the periphery. Athletes have utilized this method to heighten their exercise performance. In this study, we evaluated the hypothesis that acclimatization to altitude would improve exercise performance in patients with chronic systolic heart failure (HF).
Methods: Simulated altitude was achieved using a Hypoxico Inc. (NY, NY) portable enclosure system. Subjects started at a simulated altitude of 1500 m with simulated elevation increased by 300 m each session to a maximal altitude of 2700 m. Subjects were exposed to 10 sessions over 22 days, using an alternate day schedule, and each session lasted 3 to 4 hours. Echocardiography, cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPXT), six-minute walk (6MW), and quality of life testing (MLHFQ) were done at baseline and 48hrs post exposure.
Results: Eight subjects (50–71 years) completed the protocol. Subjects had a history of HF for a minimum of 6 months and were on stable HF medications. All subjects tolerated the altitude protocol to 2700 m, without adverse events. Mean baseline ejection fraction (EF) was 30% (range 15–44%). Left ventricular end diastolic dimension (LVEDD) was 76 mm (range 55–84 mm). During the highest simulated altitude exposure session, mean O2 saturation was 86–93%. After completion of the altitude protocol, there was no significant change in EF or LVEDD. During CPXT, 7 out of 8 subjects demonstrated an improvement in peak VO2 (mean 1.1, range 0.2–2.1 ml/kg/min) and and all subjects had improved exercise time (mean 97, range 15–309 sec). Seven out of 8 subjects had an improved 6MW (mean 33, range 15–112 m) and a decrease (improvement) in MLHFQ (mean 15, range 2–26).
Conclusions: This preliminary data supports the safety of a simulated altitude training program in patients with chronic systolic HF. The improvement in exercise performance observed needs to be demonstrated in a larger cohort of patients.
- © 2010 by American Heart Association, Inc.