Effect of biventricular pacing on ventilatory and perceptual responses to exercise in patients with stable chronic heart failure

Pierantonio Laveneziana, Denis E. O'Donnell, Dror Ofir, Piergiuseppe Agostoni, Luigi Padeletti, Giuseppe Ricciardi, Paolo Palange, Roberto Duranti, Giorgio Scano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the growing evidence supporting the use of biventricular cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF), the mechanisms whereby acute hemodynamic improvements lead to improved exertional dyspnea are not precisely known. We hypothesized that improved cardiac function and ventilation-perfusion relations following CRT would reduce ventilatory demand, thereby improving dynamic operating lung volumes and enhancing tidal volume expansion during exercise. This, in turn, would be expected to reduce perceived exertional dyspnea and contribute to improved exercise performance. In a randomized, double-blind, crossover study, we compared cardiovascular, metabolic, ventilatory responses (breathing pattern, operating lung volumes, pulmonary gas exchange) and exertional symptoms in seven stable CHF patients who undertook incremental cardiopulmonary cycle exercise test with CRT switched to the "on" (CRTon) or "off" (CRToff) modality. Following CRTon, peak oxygen uptake was significantly increased by 15%, and dyspnea ratings were lower for a given work rate (at work rate of 40 W, dyspnea = 1 ± 0.4 vs. 2.5 ± 0.9 Borg units, P <0.05) and ventilation (at ventilation of 31 l/min, dyspnea = 2 ± 0.7 vs. 3.3 ± 1.1 Borg units, P <0.05). CRTon was associated with improvements in ventilatory threshold, oxygen pulse, and oxygen uptake/work rate relationships (10.2 ± 1 vs. 7.9 ± 1.3 ml·min-1·W-1, P <0.05). CRTon reduced the ventilatory requirement during exercise as well as the steepness of ventilation-CO2 production slope (35 ± 4 vs. 45 ± 7, P <0.05). Changes in end-expiratory lung volume during exercise were less with CRTon than with CRToff (0.12 vs. 0.37 liter, P <0.05), and breathing pattern was correspondingly slower and deeper. Biventricular pacing improved all noninvasive indexes of cardiac function and oxygen delivery during exercise. The decreased ventilatory demand, improved dynamic operating lung volumes, and the increased ability to expand tidal volume during exercise are potential factors in the reduction of exertional dyspnea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1574-1583
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


  • Dynamic lung hyperinflation
  • Dyspnea
  • Heart failure
  • Resynchronization
  • Ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of biventricular pacing on ventilatory and perceptual responses to exercise in patients with stable chronic heart failure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this