Hospital admission for decompensated heart failure marks a critical inflection point in a patient’s health. Despite the improvement in signs or symptoms during hospitalization, patients have a high likelihood of readmission, reflecting a lack of resolution of the underlying condition. Surprisingly, no studies have characterized the cardiorespiratory fitness of such patients. Fifty-two patients (38 [73%] male, age 57 [52 to 65] years, left ventricular ejection fraction 31% [24 to 38]) underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing 4 (1 to 10) days after hospital discharge, when stable and without overt signs of volume overload. Transthoracic Doppler echocardiography, measurement of N-terminal pro-B-natriuretic peptide, and quality of life were also assessed. Aerobic exercise capacity was severely reduced: peak oxygen consumption (pVO2) was 14.1 (11.2 to 16.3) ml/kg/min. Ventilatory inefficiency as indicated by the minute ventilation carbon dioxide production relation (VE/VCO2 slope) >30 and oxygen uptake efficiency slope <2.0 was noted in 41 (77%) and 39 (75%) patients, respectively. Forty-five (87%) patients had 1 of 2 high-risk features (pVO2 < 14 ml/kg/min or VE/VCO2 >30). Perceived functional capacity, measured by the Duke Activity Status Index, was also severely reduced and correlated with pVO2. N-terminal pro-B-natriuretic peptide levels and early transmitral velocity/early mitral annulus velocity (E/e’) ratio at echocardiography showed a modest correlation with lower pVO2. In conclusion, patients with recently decompensated systolic heart failure demonstrate severe impairment in cardiorespiratory fitness, severely limiting quality of life.
Pharmacology and Physiotherapy
This online course will review the effects, side effects, potential drug interactions and how these will influence ideal physical therapy management with a specific focus on antidepressants and exercise.