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Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation in women with heart failure: a review of enrollment, adherence, and outcomes.

Heart Failure Reviews 2023 April 16
Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is an evidence-based recommendation for patients with stable heart failure (HF). Less clear is how effective exercise-based CR is for women with HF. The aim of this review was to synthesize the evidence for the effects of exercise-based CR on mortality, hospitalizations, exercise capacity, and quality of life (QOL) among women with HF. We identified 18 studies comprising 4917 patients, of which 1714 were women. The interventions evaluated consisted of various combinations of supervised in-hospital and out-patient sessions as well as home-based programs that included aerobic (walking, treadmill, bicycle) and resistance training. The interventions ranged from 12 to 54 weeks, with a frequency of 2-7 sessions per week, lasting from 30 to 105 min per session. Because of a paucity of sex-specific analyses of the outcomes, it was not possible to draw conclusions for women. There was limited evidence for mortality benefit for men or women participating in exercise-based CR. There was more substantial evidence for reductions in hospitalizations for the participants. Generally, exercise training improved exercise capacity. The effects of exercise-based CR on QOL were mixed with most studies favoring CR at 3 months but not at 4, 5, and 12 months. Moreover, generally, the physical dimension of QOL but not the mental dimensions improved. Recommendations for future research to reduce the gap in knowledge about the effects of exercise-based CR for women are offered.

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