The effects of exercise training on fatigue and dyspnea in heart failure

Bunny Pozehl, Kathleen Duncan, Melody Hertzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background: Physiological benefits of exercise training for heart failure (HF) patients have been demonstrated, however little is known about the effects of training on the symptoms of fatigue and dyspnea. Aim: The purpose of this study was to examine HF symptoms of fatigue and dyspnea in response to a 24-week exercise training intervention. Methods: This pilot study was a randomized, two-group repeated measures design. Fifteen subjects in the intervention group completed a combination of aerobic and resistance training three times per week in a standard cardiac rehabilitation setting. The control group consisted of 6 subjects who were instructed not to begin any formal exercise program during the 24-week intervention. Results: Subjects (19 males and 2 females) had a mean age of 66.2 ± 10.2 years and mean ejection fraction (EF) of 28.4 ± 7.4%. Non-parametric Friedman Analysis of Variance by Ranks showed the exercise group significantly decreased sensory fatigue (Piper Fatigue Scale) over time (χ2 = 6.49, p = .04) while the control group did not change (χ2 = 0.93, p = .63). Dyspnea showed a non-significant decrease over time for the exercise group (χ2 = 4.16, p = .13) while the control group showed a decrease from baseline to 12 weeks but an increase to above baseline values by week 24 (χ2 = 0.18, p = .91). Conclusion: These results provide support for the beneficial effects of exercise training on symptoms of fatigue and dyspnea in HF patients. Larger studies to evaluate symptom response to exercise are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Exercise training
  • Heart failure
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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