The role of exercise training for patients with heart failure.
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Heart failure (HF) is characterized by dyspnea and fatigue leading to exercise intolerance. HF patients have been advised to avoid exercise because of concerns about detrimental cardiac effects. However, in many studies on the effects of exercise training HF patients have demonstrated beneficial outcomes. Furthermore, exercise training has been found to be safe. Recent studies have demonstrated that exercise training might reduce morbidity and mortality. Although these data are promising, confirmation is required from a large clinical trial powered to examine the effects of exercise training on mortality and morbidity. The "Heart Failure - A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise TraiNing" (HF-ACTION) trial, a large randomized controlled clinical trial, will answer that question. Standardized guidelines for exercise training HF patients have not been established. Exercise training should be individualized according to the results of the exercise test. Ideally, the exercise program should be initiated in the setting of a supervised program followed by a home-based program. Each patient should have a tailored activity program based on a prescription for the frequency of each session, the intensity, duration of each session, and modalities to be used. Exercise training should involve aerobic exercise. Resistance exercise and interval training might be an acceptable method for HF patients; however, more studies are required for these types of exercise programs.
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