Abstract 16491: Normobaric Hypoxic Training Leads to Improved Exercise Performance, Muscle Strength and Quality of Life in Stable Heart Failure Patients
Background: Exposure to altitude leads to beneficial physiological changes that improve oxygen delivery to the periphery. Athletes have utilized simulated altitude enclosures (normobaric hypoxia) as part of their training regimen to improve performance. In this pilot study we test the hypothesis that changes due to acclimatization would also be beneficial to patients with heart failure (HF).
Methods: Subjects with stable chronic HF were studied using the Hypoxico Inc. (NY, NY) portable enclosure system. After initiation of acetazolamide, subjects underwent total of 10 sessions (each 3-4 hrs) over 22 days. Starting altitude was 1500 m and was increased by 300m each session to a maximal altitude of 2700 m. Peak VO2, 6-minute walk (6MW), skeletal muscle strength (MVC) and quality of life (QOL) scores were measured pre-, 48-hrs and 4-weeks post-exposure. This study was conducted under IDE # G080066.
Results: Twelve subjects (55±8.0 yrs, 25% CAD) with LVEF 26±6.7 % and peak VO2 15.4±1.9 ml/kg/min have successfully completed the protocol without adverse events. Mean resting O2 saturation was 91±2% at 2700m. Peak VO2 was significantly improved after altitude treatment and remained elevated 4 weeks later (Table 1). There were significant improvements in exercise time, 6MW, skeletal muscle strength and QOL scores that were sustained at 4 weeks. There was a rise in RBC mass that was sustained at 4 weeks. Interestingly, there was a trend to improvement in LVEF % that reached significance at 4 weeks.
Conclusions: This preliminary data shows that altitude training up to 2700 meters is safe and well tolerated in stable heart failure patients. There was a significant improvement in exercise performance, skeletal muscle strength and QOL after altitude that was sustained at 1-month. These promising early results need to be confirmed with larger studies. Combining altitude exposure with exercise training might provide incremental benefit.
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.