Is Exercise Training Safe and Beneficial in Patients Receiving Left Ventricular Assist Device Therapy?

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Abstract

Because a limited number of patients receive heart transplantation, alternative therapies, such as left ventricular assist device (LVAD) therapy, have emerged. Published studies have shown that LVAD implantation, by itself, improves exercise tolerance to the point where it is comparable to those with mild heart failure. The improvement in exercise capacity is maximally achieved 12 weeks after LVAD therapy and can continue even after explantation of the device. This effect varies, depending on the type of LVAD and exercise training. The available data in the literature on safety and benefits of exercise training in patients after LVAD implantation are limited, but the data that are available suggest that training trends to be safe and have an impact on exercise capacity in LVAD patients. Although no studies were identified on the role of cardiac rehabilitation programs in the management of LVAD patients, it appears that cardiac rehabilitation programs offer an ideal setting for the provision of supervised exercise training in this patient group.

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