Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 687–700 | Cite as

Aerobic Interval Training vs. Moderate Continuous Training in Coronary Artery Disease Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • Nele PattynEmail author
  • Ellen Coeckelberghs
  • Roselien Buys
  • Véronique A. Cornelissen
  • Luc Vanhees
Systematic Review



Exercise training improves exercise capacity (peakVO2), which is closely related to long-term survival in cardiac patients. However, it remains unclear which type and intensity of exercise is most effective for improving exercise tolerance and body weight. Individual studies suggest that aerobic interval training (AIT) might increase peakVO2 more in this population.


We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize the effects of AIT compared with moderate continuous training (MCT) on peakVO2, submaximal exercise capacity, and body weight in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) with preserved and/or reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF).

Data sources and study selection

A systematic search was conducted and we included randomized trials comparing AIT and MCT in CAD patients lasting at least 4 weeks, reporting peakVO2 results, and published in a peer-reviewed journal up to May 2013. The primary outcome measure was peakVO2. Secondary outcomes were submaximal exercise capacity parameters and body weight.

Synthesis methods

Random- and fixed-effects models were used and data were reported as weighted means and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs).


Nine study groups were included, involving 206 patients (100 AIT, 106 MCT). Overall, AIT resulted in a significantly larger increase in peakVO2 [+1.60 mL/kg/min (95 % CI 0.18–3.02; p = 0.03)] compared with MCT. MCT seemed to be more effective in reducing body weight (−0.78 kg; 95 % CI −0.01 to 1.58; p = 0.05).


The small number of studies might have affected the power to reach significance for the secondary outcomes.


In CAD patients with preserved and/or reduced LVEF, AIT is superior to MCT for improving peakVO2, while MCT seems to be more effective in reducing body weight. However, large, well-designed, randomized controlled trials are warranted to confirm these findings.


Leave Ventricular Ejection Fraction Exercise Training Cardiac Rehabilitation Coronary Artery Disease Patient High Intensity Exercise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



L.V. is the holder of the faculty chair ‘Lifestyle and Health’ at the University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, the Netherlands. V.A.C. is supported as a postdoctoral fellow by Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). However, no specific sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review.

The authors have no potential conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review. All authors also take responsibility for all aspects of the reliability and freedom from bias of the data presented and their discussed interpretation.

The abstract of this manuscript was accepted for oral presentation at the Congress of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH; Milan, 14–18 June 2013) and at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC; Amsterdam, 31 August–4 September 2013).

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nele Pattyn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ellen Coeckelberghs
    • 1
  • Roselien Buys
    • 1
  • Véronique A. Cornelissen
    • 1
  • Luc Vanhees
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation SciencesKU Leuven, LeuvenHeverleeBelgium

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