Exercise intensity domains determined by heart rate at the ventilatory thresholds in patients with cardiovascular disease: new insights and comparisons to cardiovascular rehabilitation prescription recommendations.

Milani JGPO; Milani M; Cipriano GFB; Hansen D; Cipriano Junior G;

BMJ open sport & exercise medicine [BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med] 2023 Jul 31; Vol. 9 (3), pp. e001601.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2023 Jul 31 (Print Publication: 2023).

Objectives: To compare the elicited exercise responses at ventilatory thresholds (VTs: VT1 and VT2) identified by cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) with the guideline-directed exercise intensity domains; to propose equations to predict heart rate (HR) at VTs; and to compare the accuracy of prescription methods.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed with 972 maximal treadmill CPET on patients with CVD. First, VTs were identified and compared with guideline-directed exercise intensity domains. Second, multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to generate prediction equations for HR at VTs. Finally, the accuracy of prescription methods was assessed by the mean absolute percentage error (MAPE).
Results: Significant dispersions of individual responses were found for VTs, with the same relative intensity of exercise corresponding to different guideline-directed exercise intensity domains. A mathematical error inherent to methods based on percentages of peak effort was identified, which may help to explain the dispersions. Tailored multivariable equations yielded r 2 of 0.726 for VT1 and 0.901 for VT2. MAPE for the novel VT1 equation was 6.0%, lower than that for guideline-based prescription methods (9.5 to 23.8%). MAPE for the novel VT2 equation was 4.3%, lower than guideline-based methods (5.8%-19.3%).
Conclusion: The guideline-based exercise intensity domains for cardiovascular rehabilitation revealed inconsistencies and heterogeneity, which limits the currently used methods. New multivariable equations for patients with CVD were developed and demonstrated better accuracy, indicating that this methodology may be a valid alternative when CPET is unavailable.