A strength training program for patients with HF should include a progressive resistance training that is safe, comfortable, and focused on maintaining or increasing muscle mass, strength, or physical performance. The objective of this trial is to assess the effects of a functional training protocol versus a strength training protocol on the functional capacity of patients with HF.
It is well known that, during the HF, there is a progressive loss of muscle mass and strength, which results in a decreased functional capacity . This loss of muscle mass is associated with a decreased capacity to perform ADLs . In addition, the daily energy expenditure should be increased to maintain optimal cardiac output . To date, the treatment in this population is not standardized; however, there is some evidence that strength training may be effective in increasing the functional capacity of individuals with HF [18, 19].
Patients with a New York Heart Association functional class II or III HF and an ejection fraction (EF) between 30% and 45% were considered eligible for the trial. Potential study participants were identified and screened by clinical staff and trained research assistants. Those patients who were eligible were invited to an in-person visit to provide written informed consent, to complete a physical examination, and to provide a blood sample. All patients were asked to avoid physical activity for at least 24 hours before the study visit. Patients were excluded if they had a New York Heart Association functional class IV HF, a right ventricular dysfunction or other exclusion criteria, or were unable to participate in this protocol.
More broadly, this protocol will provide data to determine whether functional training or strength training is the best modality to improve cardiopulmonary exercise capacity, quality of life, functional independence, and muscle mass in heart failure patients.
We believe that our study will provide an accurate picture of the benefits of functional training in heart failure, a condition with high hospitalization rates and high costs to the health system.
Conducting this study will also make it possible to compare the effects of a protocol of strength training versus functional training on ventilatory response, cardiac stress, and quality of life of patients with HF.
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