Exercise intolerance in chronic heart failure: Mechanisms and therapies. Part i

Massimo F. Piepoli, Marco Guazzi, Giuseppe Boriani, Mariantonietta Cicoira, Ugo Corrà, Luciano Dalla Libera, Michele Emdin, Donato Mele, Claudio Passino, Giorgio Vescovo, Carlo Vigorito, Giovanni Q. Villani, Piergiuseppe Agostoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Muscular fatigue and dyspnoea on exertion are among the most common symptoms in chronic heart failure; however their origin is still poorly understood. Several studies have shown that cardiac dysfunction alone cannot fully explain their origin, but the contribution of the multiorgan failure present in this syndrome must be highlighted. In this study, divided in two parts (see part II: pp. 643-648), we aimed to summarize the existing evidence and the most controversial aspects of the complex interplay of different factors involved in symptom generation. In this first part of the review, six key factors are revised: the heart, the lung, the skeletal muscle, the hormonal changes, the O2 delivery to the periphery, the endothelium. In the second part, the role of the excitatory reflexes and the cardiac cachexia will be presented, and finally, the potential therapeutic implications are discussed. We believe that a better knowledge of the pathophysiology of this syndrome may contribute to the management of the patients and to the improvement in their stress tolerance and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-642
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • chronic heart failure
  • exercise testing
  • exercise tolerance
  • quality of life
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Epidemiology


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