Exercise capacity is impaired in Fontan palliated patients. The change in daily activity behaviour with an increase in sedentary lifestyle results in low physical activity levels. This might have a greater impact on patients with chronic heart disease in contrast to healthy controls. For a better understanding, we compared data from cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) with heart rates and physical activity in daily life.
21 Fontan patients and 20 age, sex and BMI matched controls underwent CPET and 5 days of daily life activity tracking with a triaxial accelerometer (wGT3x-BT, Actigraph) including heart rate monitoring with an optical heart rate sensor.
27% of our Fontan teenagers and 71% of the Fontan adults reached the specific WHO recommendations for moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during everyday life (EDL), without differences to controls. There was a strong correlation between MVPA and [Formula: see text] for all Fontan patients (p = 0.0035, Pearson r = 0.788). Daily MVPA correlated to peak oxygen uptake and lactate production. Up to workloads of 2 W/kg and in daily life heart rates in Fontan patients were similar to controls.
Daily MVPA is alarmingly low without any differences between Fontan patients and controls. Heart rate behaviour was similar and does not seem to be a limiting factor for physical activity in daily life. Higher intensity activities should be implemented regularly in EDL for Fontan patients. Proof is needed as to whether sports in moderate or possibly even in vigorous activity (e.g. high-intensity interval training) improve exercise capacity the most.