Efficacy and safety of exercise rehabilitation in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Yishay Wasserstrum*, Iryna Barbarova, Dor Lotan, Rafael Kuperstein, Michael Shechter, Dov Freimark, Gad Segal, Robert Klempfner, Michael Arad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: While physical rehabilitation has been shown to be beneficial and safe for patients suffering from heart failure, data on rehabilitation for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) patients are limited. Methods: Forty-five HCM patients participated in an exercise rehabilitation program. Exercise capacity was measured in metabolic equivalent of task (METs) units and functional status was defined according to the New York Heart Association (NYHA). Self-reported measurements addressed the quality of life and daily life function. Results: Of the 45 participants, 32 completed at least 3 months of rehabilitation and had data from two sequential exercise tests. A significant increase in exercise capacity (from mean 5.3 to 6.7 METs, p = 0.01), was achieved at higher peak heart rates. Eighteen patients (56%) who showed improvement in exercise capacity did not differ in their NYHA class, clinical, electrocardiographic, or echo-Doppler parameters compared to those who did not improve. The benefit from training was associated with a lower exercise capacity at baseline and was most pronounced in those capable of less than 6.8 METs (p = 0.008). No significant arrhythmias or adverse events were recorded in HCM patients during participation. In ∼40% of participants, training improved the subjective perception of functional capacity and quality of life; only 4 patients (9%) discontinued their participation due to discomfort during or following training. The improvement in exercise capacity was comparable between HCM and a reference group of dilated cardiomyopathy patients. Conclusions: Exercise rehabilitation appears to be applicable and safe in HCM. It mainly benefits patients suffering from significant functional limitation. Larger prospective studies are needed to validate these findings and better characterize patients expected to benefit from these programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-472
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Exercise testing
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation


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