Exercise training and heart failure: a systematic review of current evidence.

Lloyd-Williams, F., Mair, F. and Leitner, M. (2002) Exercise training and heart failure: a systematic review of current evidence. British Journal of General Practice, 52(474), pp. 47-55.

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Chronic heart failure (CHEF) is a growing public health problem. Current guidelines provide detailed information regarding pharmacotherapy but little guidance about the value of exercise/cardiac rehabilitation programmes for individuals with this condition. To investigate the effects of exercise training upon CHF patients, a systematic literature review was carried out of trials (from 1966 to December 2000) which used as their main outcome measures the effects of exercise training upon: (a) physical performance; or (b) quality of life; or (c) morbidity/mortality. Databases searched include: MedLine; Science Citation Index; Social Sciences Citation Index; BIDS, Bandolier; Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR); NHS National Research Register (NRR); and Current Research in Britain (CRIB). Relevant bibliographic references from identified articles were also reviewed. Thirty-one trials were identified, comprising randomised controlled trials (RCTs) (14/31), randomised crossover trials (8/31), non-RCTs (2/31), and pre-test/post-test (7/31). Sample sizes were: 25 participants or fewer (20/31); 26 to 50 participants (7/31); 51 to 150 participants (4/31). Participants were predominantly younger with a mean age in 23/31 studies of 65 years or less, and male. Patients with comorbidities were often excluded. Positive effects were reported on physical performance (27/31), quality of life (11/16), mortality (1/31), and readmission rates (1/31). No cost-effectiveness analyses were identfied. We conclude that short-term physical exercise training in selected subgroups of patients with CHF has physiological benefits and positive effects on quality of life. This review highlights the continuing problem of clinical trials that include participants who are not representative of the general population of CHF patients seen in primary care. Further investigation of the utility and applicability of exercise training is essential.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mair, Professor Frances
Authors: Lloyd-Williams, F., Mair, F., and Leitner, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:British Journal of General Practice

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