Abstract 15438: Cardiac Rehabilitation Improves Functional Capacity in Patients With Continuous Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices
Objective: Reduced functional capacity is a predictor of mortality in patients with heart failure. Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) improves functional capacity and is related to improved outcomes in patients with heart failure; however, there is a paucity of data describing the effects of CR in patients with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).
Purpose: To examine the effects of a six week CR exercise program in patients with newly implanted LVADs.
Methods: Patients undergoing LVAD transplantation for any indication at a single center were screened for participation. Enrolled subjects (n = 23, 7 females; age = 53 ± 13 yr; ejection fraction = 21 ± 8%) completed a symptom-limited cardiopulmonary exercise test and single-leg isokinetic strength test and then were randomized 2:1 to CR or usual care (UC), respectively. Subjects in the CR group performed up to18 visits of aerobic exercise at 60-80% of heart rate reserve. Within group changes from T1 to T2 were analyzed with a paired t-test, while an independent t-test was used to determine differences in the change (T2-T1) between groups.
Results: Adherence to exercise in the CR group was 99%, with all subjects except one completing all 18 visits. With-in group improvements were observed in the CR group for several indicators of functional capacity (see table). Between group differences were found for leg strength, submaximal heart rate and total treadmill time.
Conclusion: Indicators of functional capacity are improved in patients with continuous flow LVAD who attend CR. Future studies should examine the mechanisms responsible for these improvements, as well as whether such improvements translate into improved clinical outcomes
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.