Effects of exercise training on mortality in patients with coronary heart disease

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Endothelial dysfunction not only precedes the development of significant coronary artery stenosis, it has also been identified as a general phenomenon predicting future cardiovascular events in patients who are at risk. As regular physical activity as a part of a multifactorial intervention has been shown to affect symptoms beneficially, increase myocardial perfusion and – most importantly – reduce mortality in patients with coronary heart disease or myocardial infarction, this review will elucidate potential mechanisms responsible for the improvement in survival as a result of regular physical activity. The importance of exercise training-mediated regression of coronary stenosis, collateral formation, correction of endothelial dysfunction including the adaptation at the molecular level, as well as vasculogenesis will be discussed as possible underlying key players, and their potential contribution to the training-induced survival benefit in patients with coronary heart disease will be critically evaluated.

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