Sports Medicine

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 587–605 | Cite as

High-Intensity Interval Training in Cardiac Rehabilitation

  • Thibaut GuiraudEmail author
  • Anil Nigam
  • Vincent Gremeaux
  • Philippe Meyer
  • Martin Juneau
  • Laurent Bosquet
Review Article


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is frequently used in sports training. The effects on cardiorespiratory and muscle systems have led scientists to consider its application in the field of cardiovascular diseases. The objective of this review is to report the effects and interest of HIIT in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart failure (HF), as well as in persons with high cardiovascular risk. A non-systematic review of the literature in the MEDLINE database using keywords ‘exercise’, ‘high-intensity interval training’, ‘interval training’, ‘coronary artery disease’, ‘coronary heart disease’, ‘chronic heart failure’ and ‘metabolic syndrome’ was performed. We selected articles concerning basic science research, physiological research, and randomized or non-randomized interventional clinical trials published in English.

To summarize, HIIT appears safe and better tolerated by patients than moderate-intensity continuous exercise (MICE). HIIT gives rise to many short- and long-term central and peripheral adaptations in these populations. In stable and selected patients, it induces substantial clinical improvements, superior to those achieved by MICE, including beneficial effects on several important prognostic factors (peak oxygen uptake, ventricular function, endothelial function), as well as improving quality of life. HIIT appears to be a safe and effective alternative for the rehabilitation of patients with CAD and HF. It may also assist in improving adherence to exercise training. Larger randomized interventional studies are now necessary to improve the indications for this therapy in different populations.


Heart Failure Patient Cardiac Rehabilitation Coronary Artery Disease Patient Exercise Protocol Interval Training 
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.



All of the authors contributed to the writing of this manuscript. This paper was funded by the EPIC Foundation. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thibaut Guiraud
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Anil Nigam
    • 1
  • Vincent Gremeaux
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Philippe Meyer
    • 1
    • 6
  • Martin Juneau
    • 1
    • 7
  • Laurent Bosquet
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Montreal Heart Institute, Cardiovascular Prevention Centre (centre ÉPIC)Université de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Inserm U1048, Toulouse and Clinic of Saint OrensClinique de rééducation cardiovasculaire et pulmonaire de Saint OrensSaint-Orens de GamevilleFrance
  3. 3.Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche MédicaleInstitut des maladies métaboliques et cardiovasculairesToulouseFrance
  4. 4.Poôle Rééducation-RehabilitationDijonFrance
  5. 5.Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche MédicaleU1093 Cognition, Action, et Plasticité SensorimotriceDijonFrance
  6. 6.Cardiology ServiceUniversity Hospital of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  7. 7.Department of KinesiologyUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  8. 8.Faculty of Sports Sciences and MOVE Laboratory (EA 6314)Université de PoitiersPoitiersFrance

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