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Exercise is safe, improves outcomes for patients with heart failure
Date:11/11/2008

al medical therapy and were simply encouraged to be active. Members of both groups received education about the value of exercise and supportive phone calls.

Investigators followed the patients for an average of two and half years, tracking various clinical measures of heart failure, quality of life, hospitalization, cardiac events and death rates.

During the study, 796 (68 percent) of patients in the usual care arm died or were hospitalized, compared to 759 (65 percent) in the exercise arm. There were 198 deaths (17 percent) among patients in the usual care arm, compared to 189 (16 percent) in the exercise arm.

In adjusting for clinical characteristics strongly predictive of outcomes, including history of atrial fibrillation, depression, LVEF status, and the patients' initial capacity for exercise, investigators found that exercise led to a significant 11 percent reduction in risk of hospitalization or death for those in the exercise group (p =.03).

They also found that those in the exercise group had a significant, 15 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and hospitalization due to complications of heart failure (p = .03), a secondary end point of the study.

"We feel these are important findings for patients and physicians alike," said Whellan. "It takes a lot of time and commitment to definitively answer a question that many of us had asked for years: Can exercise provide clinically significant benefit for patients with heart failure? Now we know that the answer is 'yes.' We also know that it is safe: There was no significant difference between the two study groups in the risk of heart attacks, arrhythmias, falls or fractures during the study period."

Investigators say there are some limitations to the study. The benefit of exercise may have been diminished somewhat by the fact that there was a sizable number of patients randomized to the usual care arm who actually decided to exercise
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Contact: Michelle Gailiun
michelle.gailiun@duke.edu
919-724-5343
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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