Exercise training effects on elderly and middle-age patients with chronic heart failure after acute decompensation: A randomized, controlled trial

Domenico Acanfora, Pietro Scicchitano, Gerardo Casucci, Bernardo Lanzillo, Nicola Capuano, Giuseppe Furgi, Chiara Acanfora, Marialaura Longobardi, Raffaele Antonelli Incalzi, Giuseppe Piscosquito, Marco Matteo Ciccone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of exercise training on cardiac function in heart failure (HF) patients recently suffering from acute decompensation. Radionuclide ambulatory ventricular function monitoring (VEST) was used to detect variations in cardiac hemodynamics during training period. Methods This was a monocentric, randomized, controlled trial. We enrolled 72 HF patients [left ventricle ejection fraction (LVEF) < 40%] within two weeks after acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema: 40 in the elderly group, 32 in the middle-aged group. Trained patients underwent a specific four-weeks exercise program (closed-chain resistive activities and abdominal exercises) which was supervised by a therapist in agreement with patients’ characteristics. Catecholamines at rest, echocardiography, right-heart catheterization, and bicycle ergometer were performed. VEST was performed at the end of the 4 weeks-training in all patients in order to assess patients’ cardiac hemodynamics [LVEF, cardiac output (CO), stroke volume]. Results Exercise training significantly improved exercise duration, peak oxygen consumption, and ventilatory threshold both in elderly and middle-aged patients (p < 0.0001) after the 4-week controlled training. Despite age (F = 35.086, p < 0.0001; F = 16.967, p < 0.0001; F = 42.574, p = 0.03, respectively), training reliably influence previous cardiopulmonary parameters (F = 29.402, F = 16.421, F = 26.80, p < 0.0001, respectively). Norepinephrine and epinephrine were significantly reduced in both trained groups. Peak LVEF (37.3 ± 4.7% vs 34 ± 6.2%, p = 0.002), peak stroke volume (43.3 ± 3.9% vs 37.5 ± 4.3%, p = 0.001), and peak CO (63.4 ± 6.1% vs 48.2 ± 4.7%, p < 0.0001) increased in middle-aged patients after 4-week training. Conclusions Exercise training improves cardiac performance indexes and pulmonary function in both middle-aged and elderly HF patients early after an acute episode of cardiac decompensation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-323
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2016


  • Acute decompensation
  • Elderly
  • Exercise training
  • Heart failure
  • Middle age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Exercise training effects on elderly and middle-age patients with chronic heart failure after acute decompensation: A randomized, controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this