Is the Cardiovascular Response Equivalent Between a Supervised Center-Based Setting and a Self-care Home-Based Setting When Rating of Perceived Exertion Is Used to Guide Aerobic Exercise Intensity During a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program?

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The aim of this study was to investigate if exercise intensity guided by rating of perceived exertion (RPE) results in an equivalent cardiovascular response when applied in either a center-based or a home-based setting.


Data from patients with heart disease (post–valve surgery and atrial fibrillation post–radiofrequency ablation) participating in exercise-based rehabilitation were included. Patients performed a 12-week program in either a center- or a home-based setting. Using RPE, patients recorded their exercise intensity 3 times during an aerobic training phase. Exercise intensity was objectively measured using heart rate (HR) monitors.


A total of 2622 RPE values with corresponding HR data were available. There was no difference in the level of association (interaction P = 0.51) between HR and RPE seen in the center-based setting (mean of 6.1 beats/min per 1.0 difference in RPE; 95% confidence interval, 4.8–7.5 beats/min) compared with the home-based setting (mean of 5.3 beats/min per 1.0 difference in RPE; 95% confidence interval, 4.0–6.5 beats/min). The level of patient familiarization, exercise intensity, and patient characteristics did not affect the level of association between RPE and HR.


Independent of exercise setting, RPE appears to be equally effective in guiding exercise intensity of patients participating in cardiac rehabilitation.

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