Therapeutic exercise for individuals with heart failure: special attention to older women with heart failure.
BACKGROUND: A cardinal feature of heart failure (HF) is the reduced peak aerobic power (VO(2peak)) secondary to alterations in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal function. Methods and results During the last decade, a number of randomized trials have examined the role that exercise training plays in attenuating the HF-mediated decline in VO(2peak) and muscle strength. The major finding of these investigations was that aerobic or strength training was an effective intervention to increase VO(2peak), muscular strength, distance walked in 6 minutes, and quality of life without negatively altering left ventricular systolic function. Despite these benefits, a limitation of these investigations was the primary focus on males <60 years with impaired left ventricular systolic function. Thus the role that exercise training may play in attenuating the HF-mediated decline in VO(2peak) in women > or =65 years of age remains unknown. CONCLUSION: Older women with HF have a VO(2peak) that is below the minimal threshold level required for independent living. Moreover, older women with HF have greater disability then men and are less likely to be referred to an exercise rehabilitation program. Accordingly, future exercise intervention trials are required to examine the role that exercise training may play in attenuating the HF-mediated decline in cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness and disability in older women with HF.
Haykowsky, MJ; Ezekowitz, JA; Armstrong, PW
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