Determinants of exercise performance in heart failure patients with extremely reduced cardiac output and left ventricular assist device

A. Apostolo, C. Vignati, M. Cittar, N. Baracchini, S. Mushtaq, G. Cattadori, et al.

Eur J Prev Cardiol 2023 Vol. 30 Issue Suppl 2 Pages ii63-ii69

The evaluation of exercise capacity and cardiac output (QC) is fundamental in the management of patients with advanced heart failure (AdHF). QC and peak oxygen uptake (VO2) have a pivotal role in the prognostic stratification and in the definition of therapeutic interventions, including medical therapies and devices, but also specific treatments such as heart transplantation and left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation. Due to the intertwined relationship between exercise capacity and daily activities, exercise intolerance dramatically has impact on the quality of life of patients. It is a multifactorial process that includes alterations in central and peripheral haemodynamic regulation, anaemia and iron deficiency, pulmonary congestion, pulmonary hypertension, and peripheral O2 extraction. This paper aims to review the pathophysiological background of exercise limitations in HF patients and to examine the complex physiology of exercise in LVAD recipients, analysing the interactions between the cardiopulmonary system, the musculoskeletal system, the autonomic nervous system, and the pump. We performed a literature review to highlight the current knowledge on this topic and possible interventions that can be implemented to increase exercise capacity in AdHF patients-including administration of levosimendan, rehabilitation, and the intriguing field of LVAD speed changes. The present paper confirms the role of CPET in the follow-up of this peculiar population and the impact of exercise capacity on the quality of life of AdHF patients.