Regular exercise improves weight stability in patients with advanced heart failure

Andrea M. Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine if a progressive, prescribed home-based aerobic exercise program would alter the natural physiological processes that maintain fluid balance stability in patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III/IV heart failure after medical optimization (titration of oral medical therapy with or without the infusion of an intravenous inotrope). Methods: A total of 56 men and women from a large tertiary trauma I hospital were enrolled with 56 subjects contributing to baseline analysis and 42 subjects at 24 weeks. Subjects were diagnosed with heart failure via NYHA classification IV or III for at least 6 months and were hospitalized for a current acute decompensation exacerbation in which they were being medically optimized. The exercise intervention was a home-based, prescribed, progressive aerobic exercise program lasting for 24 weeks. The exercise participants had weekly phone calls to gather data and progress the exercise program and one 12-week follow up. The usual care participants received random phone calls to collect data and had one 12-week follow up visit to attain physical assessment values. Results: Subjects were primarily female (59%), nonwhite (54%), and NYHA class IV (52%) versus class III (48%). The mean age was 58 years (±11.8 years). The subjects had a mean ejection fraction of 17.7 % (±7%) and mean maximal oxygen consumption of 12.1 (±3.4). Using a hierarchical multiple regression model, it was demonstrated that an exercise prescription (intensity, frequency, duration) significantly predicted 24 h weight fluctuations within a NYHA class III/IV heart failure population after medical optimization (R2 linear = 0.713, F = 3.224, p = 0.015). This study demonstrated that exercise is a successful adjunctive therapy to managing the daily weight variability or fluid status instability of patients with NYHA class III/IV heart failure that is often a debilitating aspect of the syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-304
Number of pages8
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • body weight
  • exercise
  • fluid shifts
  • heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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