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Exercise is Safe, Improves Outcomes for Heart Failure Patients
Date:11/11/2008

Study highlights:

-- Exercise is safe for heart failure patients.

-- Exercise resulted in clinical benefit even in heart failure patients already getting excellent medical care.

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Exercise training is safe in heart failure patients, does not significantly reduce hospitalization or death, but is associated with several improved clinical outcomes, even in those already receiving optimal medical care, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2008. The Heart Failure and A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise Training (HF-ACTION) was presented as a late-breaking clinical trial.

The trial is the world's largest study of exercise training versus usual care in heart failure (HF) patients, said Christopher M. O'Connor, M.D., principal investigator and director of the Heart Center and professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

The U.S.-government-funded, randomized, Phase III trial followed 2,331 heart failure patients (average age 59) at 82 sites in the United States, Canada and Europe for an average of 2.5 years. The patients were randomized to an exercise training program aimed at increasing workout intensity and duration or to usual care, in which they were encouraged to exercise, but without any specific program.

Researchers found no excess risk for heart attack, arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), angina (chest pain) or fractures in the exercise training group.

Although exercise training of heart failure patients was not associated with a statistically significant reduction of the primary endpoint of composite of all-cause hospitalization and death, the prespecified secondary analyses with adjustment for prespecified major prognostic factors revealed an 11 percent reduction (p-value = 0.03) in the study's primary endpoint and a 15 percent (p-value = 0.03) reduction in the secondary endpoint
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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