Exercise training in people with implanted mechanical pumps to support heart function

Years funded:
2016 - 2018

Many heart conditions impair the heart's ability to pump blood. This is known as heart failure. Exercise training is an important component in the management of heart failure, but in severe cases, symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue limit patients' ability to undertake and benefit from exercise. Ventricular assist devices (VADs) are small pumps implanted into the heart of patients with severe heart failure to assist the heart in pumping blood around the body. VADs reduce symptoms of heart failure, enabling patients to undertake exercise that wasn't previously possible. However, little is known about the most effective form of exercise training in patients with VADs. 

This study will investigate the effects of a new approach to exercise training in patients with VADs, involving alternating bouts of moderate and high intensity exercise. Six weeks after being implanted with a VAD, participants will be randomised to either 12 weeks of high intensity interval exercise or 12 weeks of moderate intensity exercise. Before and after the exercise programs, participants will undergo tests to compare the effects of the two exercise programs on fitness, heart and blood vessel function and quality of life. We anticipate the findings of this project will help optimise exercise rehabilitation for people with VADs and provide information that will help inform exercise prescription in people with cardiovascular disease more generally.

Researcher Profile

Associate Professor Andrew Maiorana

Institute: Curtin University of Technology
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