Although exercise training (ET) has been shown to improve both physical function and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in older patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), the relationship between changes in these important patient-centered outcome measures has not been adequately investigated.
Patients (n = 116) with HFpEF (from 2 previous randomized controlled trials) were assigned to either 16 wk of endurance ET or attention control (CON). The ET in both trials consisted of ≤ 60 min of moderate-intensity endurance ET 3 time/wk. Peak exercise oxygen uptake (VO2peak) and other exercise capacity measures were obtained from a cardiopulmonary exercise test on an electronically braked cycle ergometer and 6-min walk test (6MWT). HRQOL was assessed using the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure (MLHF) Questionnaire and the 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36).
Compared with CON, the ET group demonstrated significant improvement in measures of physical function (VO2peak and 6MWT) at 16 wk of follow-up. There were no significant differences observed between the groups for MLHF scores, but the ET group showed significant improvements on the SF-36. There were no significant correlations between change in any of the physical function and HRQOL measures in the ET group.
While endurance ET improved both physical function and some domains of HRQOL, the lack of significant correlations between changes in these measures suggests the effects of ET on physical function and HRQOL are largely independent of one another. Since these measures assess important and unique patient-centered outcomes in HFpEF patients, both physical function and HRQOL should be assessed in exercise-based programs and clinical trials.