Exercise Helps Heart Failure Patients

Following a supervised program improves their chances of survival

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FRIDAY, Jan. 16, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- People with chronic heart failure have a better chance of survival if they take part in supervised exercise programs, says a study in the Jan. 16 online issue of the British Medical Journal.

Researchers analyzed data from nine trials involving 801 people with heart failure. Of the people in the trials, 395 received exercise training for at least eight weeks and 406 in the control group received usual care. All the people were monitored for at least three months.

There were 88 (22 percent) deaths in the exercise group and 105 (26 percent) deaths in the control group. Admissions to hospitals were also lower in the exercise group.

Even when heart patients spend only a small amount of time in an exercise program, it's likely to result in a more active lifestyle, the study authors say. That means the actual amount of exercise these people get is much more than the exercise they do as part of a supervised program.

Further research should focus on optimizing such exercise programs and identifying appropriate patient target groups, the authors say.

Currently, exercise is not widely prescribed for people with chronic heart failure, due to a lack of evidence that it's effective.

More information

Here's where you can learn about heart failure.

SOURCE: British Medical Journal, news release, Jan. 16, 2004

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