NYMC Faculty Publications


Exercise for Preventing Hospitalization and Readmission in Adults With Congestive Heart Failure

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January 2019




We critically appraised all available evidence regarding exercise interventions for improving patient survival and reducing hospital admissions in adults with chronic heart failure (HF). We searched 4 databases up to April 2018 and graded the quality of evidence according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation working group approach. We reviewed 7 meta-analyses and the publications of 48 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). In HF with reduced ejection fraction, low-quality evidence suggests that exercise prevents all-cause hospitalizations [Relative risk (RR), 0.77; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.63 to 0.93; 1328 patients in 15 RCTs] and hospitalizations due to HF (RR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.88; 1073 patients in 13 RCTs) and improves quality of life (standardized mean difference, -0.37; 95% CI, -0.60 to -0.14; 1270 patients in 25 RCTs) but has no effect on mortality. In HF with preserved ejection fraction, low-quality evidence suggests that exercise improves peak oxygen uptake (mean difference, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.16 to 3.57; 171 patients in 3 RCTs) and quality of life (mean difference, -4.65; 95% CI, -8.46 to -0.83; 203 patients in 4 RCTs). In patients after heart transplantation, low-quality evidence suggests that exercise improves peak oxygen uptake (standardized mean difference, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.93; 284 patients in 9 RCTs) but does not improve quality of life. In order to reduce hospitalization and improve quality of life for adults with HF and reduced ejection fraction, clinicians should recommend exercise interventions. For adults with HF and preserved ejection fraction and in those undergoing heart transplantation, clinicians may recommend exercise interventions in order to improve peak oxygen uptake.