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CPAP Benefits Patients with Congestive Heart Failure

Small study shows significant improvements in lung function and exercise capacity

FRIDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with congestive heart failure, the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may significantly improve pulmonary function and exercise tolerance, according to a small study published in the July issue of Chest.

Elisardo C. Vasquez, Ph.D., of Emescam College of Health Sciences of Vitoria in Brazil, and colleagues randomly assigned 24 patients with congestive heart failure and dilated cardiomyopathy to receive half an hour of CPAP therapy and respiratory exercise daily for two weeks, or to receive half an hour of respiratory exercise only.

The researchers found that the CPAP group had a progressive increase in both forced vital capacity -- by a maximum of 16 percent after nine days -- and in forced expiratory volume in one second -- by a maximum of 14 percent after 14 days -- while the respiratory exercise-only group experienced no significant changes. They also found that the CPAP group improved its walking distance by up to 28 percent during a six-minute walking test, while the respiratory exercise-only group experienced no significant change.

"The clinical implication of our findings is that the use of non-invasive CPAP for 30 minutes per day could potentially be used as an adjunct to the treatment of congestive heart failure patients," the authors conclude.

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