A study published recently in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure reveals that exercise training has health benefits for patients with heart failure. A news release from the Montefiore Medical Center indicates that the study, which investigated the effects of exercise training in this patient population, showed that exercise training reduced the risk for subsequent all-cause mortality or all-cause hospitalization in women by 26%, compared with 10% in men. The clinical trial randomized 2,331 patients with heart failure.

Specifically, the patients had a left ventricular ejection fraction of less than or equal to 35 percent to either a formal exercise program plus optimal medical therapy, or to optimal medical therapy alone. Patients randomized to the exercise treatment arm participated in supervised walking, or stationary cycling for 30 minutes three days a week for six weeks. After completing 18 sessions, patients added 40 minutes of home-based exercise 2 days per week, then after 36 supervised sessions, patients were transitioned to a 5 days per week, 40 minutes a day home-based exercise program.

The primary outcome of the analysis was a composite of all-cause mortality or hospitalization, stratified by gender. In addition to the 26% reduction in risk of all-cause mortality or hospitalization for women, exercise training was associated with greater reductions in risk among women than men for all secondary endpoints. The results of the study showed that there were no notable differences between men and women in either treatment arm with respect to change in Peak VO2.

Ileana Piña, MD, MPH, says, “Heart disease has a major impact on women. Our goal is for these findings to greatly impact the management of this challenging syndrome.”

Piña states, “These findings are significant because they represent important implications for clinical practice and patient behaviors. Findings suggest physicians should consider exercise as a component of treatment for female patients with heart failure, as they do for male patients.”

Source: Montefiore Medical Center