Impact of training methods and patient characteristics on exercise capacity in patients in cardiovascular rehabilitation

Reibis, Rona;
Salzwedel, Annett; Buhlert, Hermann; Wegscheider, Karl; Eichler, Sarah;
Völler, Heinz.

European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, March 2016,
Vol. 23 Issue: Number 5 p452-459, 8p;

Abstract: Aim  We aimed to
identify patient characteristics and comorbidities that correlate with
the initial exercise capacity of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) patients
and to study the significance of patient characteristics, comorbidities
and training methods for training achievements and final fitness of CR
patients.Methods  We studied 557 consecutive patients (51.7 ± 6.9
years; 87.9% men) admitted to a three-week in-patient CR.
Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPX) was performed at discharge.
Exercise capacity (watts) at entry, gain in training volume and final
physical fitness (assessed by peak O2utilization (VO2peak) were
analysed using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) models.Results  Mean
training intensity was 90.7 ± 9.7% of maximum heart rate (81%
continuous/19% interval training, 64% additional strength training). A
total of 12.2 ± 2.6 bicycle exercise training sessions were performed.
Increase of training volume by an average of more than 100% was
achieved (difference end/beginning of CR: 784 ± 623 watts × min). In
the multivariate model the gain in training volume was significantly
associated with smoking, age and exercise capacity at entry of CR. The
physical fitness level achieved at discharge from CR as assessed by
VO2peakwas mainly dependent on age, but also on various factors related
to training, namely exercise capacity at entry, increase of training
volume and training method.

Conclusion  CR patients were trained in line
with current guidelines with moderate-to-high intensity and reached a
considerable increase of their training volume. The physical fitness
level achieved at discharge from CR depended on various factors
associated with training, which supports the recommendation that CR
should be offered to all cardiac patients.