Heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome in which abnormal heart function results in clinical symptoms & signs of reduced cardiac output and/or pulmonary congestion at rest or exercise leading to impairment in functional capacity. It is a result of both impaired filling of the left ventricle and/or impaired ejection of blood into the systemic circulation.
Individuals with heart failure typically have a progression in a disease state where functional capacity becomes more and more reduced with the end-stage treatment being heart transplant. Exercise training can slow disease progression, improve functional capacity and quality of life and potentially delay the need for transplant in individuals with heart failure.
Heart failure (HF) is a global epidemic that affects more than 64 million people worldwide. In the United States, the prevalence of heart failure is 6.9 million people with an expected increase of nearly 25% by 2040. Costs associated with heart failure are over 100 billion dollars worldwide with nearly $32 billion being spent in the United States each year (approximately $100,000 per patient).
Typically, individuals with heart failure also have a number of other comorbidities including:
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Obesity, Diabetes Mellitus
- Systemic Hypertension
- Sleep apnea
- Kidney dysfunction (“cardio-renal syndrome”)
Thus, it is a complex care scenario in which exercise can play a potent role.