Washington, Nov 13 : A regular exercise regime can significantly improve quality of life in heart failure patients, says new study.
The study led by Duke University Medical Center showed that exercise is not only safe for patients, but also helps to improve the quality of their lives. They fare better and feel good about their lives than similar patients who do not work out on a regular basis.
During the study, the researchers randomized participants to receive either standard care or standard care plus an exercise program.
The exercise regimen consisted of three months of supervised aerobic training on a bicycle or treadmill, followed by instruction for continued home-based training.
They had also set the exercise goal at five, 40-minute workouts, or 200 minutes of exercise per week. Participants reached about 60 percent of that goal at one year.
The researchers assessed the changes in the quality of life with the help of a Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ).
At three months, patients in both groups showed improvement, with patients in the usual care group registering a three-point gain on the KCCQ score and those in the exercise group showing a five-point gain.
Previous reports had defined a five-point gain as clinically significant.
Researchers also found that at three months, 54 percent of those in the exercise group saw a five-point gain in overall KCCQ score, while only 28 percent of those in the usual care group met that goal.
"We found that a majority of those who exercised reported a five-point improvement in the KCCQ scale.
"That means that they experienced significant improvement in many aspects of their day-to-day activities, such as working, walking, being able to dress, bathe, and getting out to visit family and friends," said Ileana Pina, MD, a professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University and chair of the HF-ACTION Steering Committee.