Exercise programs for LVAD supported patients: A snapshot from the ESC affiliated countries

Tuvia Ben Gal*, Massimo F. Piepoli, Ugo Corrà, Viviane Conraads, Stamatis Adamopoulos, Piergiuseppe Agostoni, Ewa Piotrowicz, Jean Paul Schmid, Petar M. Seferovic, Piotr Ponikowski, Gerasimos Filippatos, Tiny Jaarsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background To contribute to the protocol development of exercise training in LVAD supported patients by reviewing the exercise programs for those patients in the ESC affiliated countries. Methods A subset of data from 77 (26 countries) LVAD implanting centers that participated in the Extra-HF survey (170 centers) was analyzed. Results Of the 77 LVAD implanting centers, 45 (58%) reported to have a functioning exercise training program (ETP) for LVAD patients. In 21 (47%) of the 45 ETP programs in LVAD implanting centers, patients begin their ETP during their in-hospital post-operative recovery period. Most centers (71%) have an early post-discharge program for their patients, and 24% of the centers offer a long-term maintenance program. The professionals involved in the ETPs are mainly physiotherapists (73%), psychologists, cardiac rehab nurses (22%), or cardiologists specialized in rehabilitation (22%). Not all programs include the treating cardiologist or surgeons. Most of the ETPs (84%) include aerobic endurance training, mostly cycling (73%), or walking (62%) at low intensity intervals. Some programs apply resistance training (47%), respiratory muscle training (55%), or balance training (44%). Reasons for the absence of ETPs are referral of patients to another center (14 centers) and lack of resources (11 centers). Conclusion There is a great variance in ETPs in LVAD implanting centers. Not all the implanting centers have an ETP, and those that do have adopted a local protocol. Clear guidance on ETP supplied by LVAD implanting centers to LVAD supported patients and more evidence for optimal modalities are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-219
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
StatePublished - 10 Oct 2015


  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Exercise training
  • Heart failure
  • Left ventricular assist device


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