Question: Does exercise help heart failure?
Answer: Several decades ago people were prescribed bed rest when they developed signs and symptoms of heart failure. And in fact the truth is that we should encourage our patients to exercise. This was a mythical concept where we as clinicians were frightened of having patient with heart failure exercise. And now we know that in fact in appropriately prescribed levels of exercise, patients do extremely well. We know that exercise can improve cardiac function or heart function and the heart muscle pump function tends to improve with exercise.
There are now studies that even pointed towards the possibility that exercise may improve the syndrome of heart failure by perhaps even prolonging survival and improving the effectiveness of medical therapy. There is now a large scale clinical trial that is soon to be completed called action heart failure which is investigating the notion that exercise prescribed judiciously in patients with systolic heart failure will in fact improve survival.