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Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 217–226 | Cite as

Exercise training in heart failure patients: effects on skeletal muscle abnormalities and sympathetic nervous activity—a literature review

  • Fotios Iliopoulos
  • Nicolas Mazis
Review
  • 42 Downloads

Abstract

Patients suffering from heart failure exhibit fatigue resulting in reduced exercise tolerance and thus, decreased functional capacity and quality of life. Evidence supporting that cardiac function is poorly correlated with the exercise capacity, led to investigations into peripheral abnormalities, such as impaired function and oxidative capacity of the skeletal muscle, and increased activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Although in the past exercise training was discouraged, today it is recognized that has unique beneficial effects on the peripheral alterations that are seen in this clinical population, as well as, it is a safe therapeutic intervention for patients with heart failure. There is ample evidence demonstrating that improvements in muscle metabolism and sympathetic nervous activity, which are closely connected with exercise capacity, lead to lower rates of hospitalization and improvements in quality of life. Thus, in fact, exercise training is considered an integral, non-pharmacological, component in heart failure management, contributing to attenuate systemic effects and to ameliorate, or even reverse, skeletal myopathy.

Keywords

Exercise training Heart failure Skeletal muscle Skeletal myopathy Exercise capacity Sympathetic nerve activity 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki an its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

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© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysiotherapyAKMI Metropolitan CollegeMarousi, AthensGreece

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