Cardiac rehabilitation.

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4 Scopus citations


Exercise training is a major, and the most important, component of cardiac rehabilitation. Besides providing psychological benefits and promoting a "sense of well being," it elicits a number of adaptations in patients with ischemic heart disease. Among the clinically important adaptations are changes in the trained skeletal muscles and autonomic nervous system, resulting not only in increased maximum exercise capacity but also a slower heart rate and, at times, a lower systolic blood pressure during submaximal exercise. The reduction in the rate pressure product decreases myocardial O2 demand at any given submaximal exercise intensity and may thus alleviate myocardial ischemia and angina in patients with coronary artery disease. These adaptive responses occur even with a relatively modest exercise intensity. Although short-term exercise training of moderate intensity has not been reported to result in improvement in left ventricular performance, recent data suggest that exercise training of higher intensity and longer duration (12 months or longer) than has conventionally been used in cardiac rehabilitation programs may favorably affect the heart. This is characterized by improvements in left ventricular function, diminished electrocardiographic criteria of myocardial ischemia and increased stroke volume during exercise. Modest weight reduction accompanies regularly performed prolonged exercise training. It is important, however, to recognize that high-intensity exercise programs are suitable for only some patients with coronary artery disease who are stable and should be used only under strict medical supervision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalCardiology clinics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1984


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