December 26, 2005

Resistance training OK for heart failure patients

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Contrary to qualms about
deleterious effects on the heart, people with chronic heart
failure can safely undertake a resistance training program,
Australian researchers report. In fact, such training appears
to have a beneficial effect on how strongly the heart is able
to pump blood.

Resistance training has been shown to improve the
functional ability of people with chronic heart failure to
perform activities of daily living, and to improve their
overall quality of life. However, there have been concerns that
it may accelerate the remodeling process that affects the main
pumping chamber of the heart -- the left ventricle -- when
chronic heart failure sets in.

To investigate, Dr. Itamar Levinger, from Victoria
University of Technology in Melbourne, and colleagues used
ultrasound to assess the structure and function of the left
ventricles of eight men with heart failure who participated in
an 8-week resistance training program and seven similar men who
did not.

The investigators' findings appear in the International
Journal of Cardiology. The resistance training did not appear
to have a significant effect on left ventricle measurements,
the report indicates.

Yet, the patients who undertook the resistance training
showed significant increases in the amount of blood the heart
was able to pump with each beat, compared with the non-training

"Since resistance training improves functional ability and
quality of life of patients with chronic heart failure without
causing a reduction in left ventricular contractile function or
structure it is recommended to add this training regime to the
regular exercise rehabilitation programs of these patients,"
Levinger's team concludes.

SOURCE: International Journal of Cardiology, November 2,