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

preted with the understanding that the improvement in outcomes were obtained while the patients were receiving exceptionally high quality of care," Whellan said.

After three months in the study, 52 percent of the exercise group were exercising at least three times a week for 40 minutes, a percentage that held fairly steady through the first year and then dropped off slightly, Whellan said. The median exercise time was maintained from 76 minutes per week at three months to 74 minutes per week at one year. At the one-year follow-up, 25 percent of the patients in the exercise group reported completing five sessions per week, he said.

"If you think about their degree of illness, the level of training by these patients was impressive," Whellan said.

Forty percent of the trial participants were members of minority groups and 28 percent were women. O'Connor credited the diversity to the medical centers involved and the U.S. government's encouragement for including populations that have traditionally been under represented in medical trials.

The average left-ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), a measure of the heart's function, in the study was 25 percent, indicating moderate heart failure. More than half of the participants had a history of blood vessel blockage and about 40 percent had a history of heart attack, meaning the study has implications for a wide variety of heart failure patients.

"This is the most definitive study to guide policymakers, physicians, healthcare providers and health systems in regard to recommendations for exercise training in patients with heart failure," O'Connor said.

Co-authors include: Kerry L. Lee., Ph.D.; Steven J. Keteyian, Ph.D.; Lawton S. Cooper, M.D.; Stephen J. Ellis, Ph.D.; Eric S. Leifer, Ph.D.; William E. Kraus, M.D.; David S. Rendall, P.A.-C; Nancy Houston-Miller, R.N., B.S.N.; Jerome L. Fleg, M.D.; Robert S. McKelvie, M.D.; Lawrence Fine, M.D.; Kevin A. Schulman, M.D.; and Ileana L. Pin
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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