Exercise programs for LVAD supported patients: A snapshot from the ESC affiliated countries

Tuvia Ben Gal, Massimo F. Piepoli, Ugo Corrà, Viviane Conraads, Stamatis Adamopoulos, Piergiuseppe Agostoni, Ewa Piotrowicz, Jean Paul Schmid, Petar M. Seferovic, Piotr Ponikowski, Gerasimos Filippatos, Tiny Jaarsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background To contribute to the protocol development of exercise training in LVAD supported patients by reviewing the exercise programs for those patients in the ESC affiliated countries. Methods A subset of data from 77 (26 countries) LVAD implanting centers that participated in the Extra-HF survey (170 centers) was analyzed. Results Of the 77 LVAD implanting centers, 45 (58%) reported to have a functioning exercise training program (ETP) for LVAD patients. In 21 (47%) of the 45 ETP programs in LVAD implanting centers, patients begin their ETP during their in-hospital post-operative recovery period. Most centers (71%) have an early post-discharge program for their patients, and 24% of the centers offer a long-term maintenance program. The professionals involved in the ETPs are mainly physiotherapists (73%), psychologists, cardiac rehab nurses (22%), or cardiologists specialized in rehabilitation (22%). Not all programs include the treating cardiologist or surgeons. Most of the ETPs (84%) include aerobic endurance training, mostly cycling (73%), or walking (62%) at low intensity intervals. Some programs apply resistance training (47%), respiratory muscle training (55%), or balance training (44%). Reasons for the absence of ETPs are referral of patients to another center (14 centers) and lack of resources (11 centers). Conclusion There is a great variance in ETPs in LVAD implanting centers. Not all the implanting centers have an ETP, and those that do have adopted a local protocol. Clear guidance on ETP supplied by LVAD implanting centers to LVAD supported patients and more evidence for optimal modalities are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-219
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 10 2015


  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Exercise training
  • Heart failure
  • Left ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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