Physiological benefits of a prolonged moderate intensity endurance training programme in patients with coronary artery disease

  • Helen M Joughin
  • Andres G Digenio
  • Liz Daly
  • Emily Kgare


Objectives. To assess the physiological changes that take place in patients with  coronary artery disease after 6 and 18 months of moderate-intensity endurance  training.
Design. Prospective non-randomised controlled study.
Setting. Joharmesburg Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre, a community-based phase ill cardiac rehabilitation programme.
Subjects. The 93 patients who completed 18 months of training form  the'experimental or 'complier' group, while the 18 patients who discontinued the programme form the comparison or 'dropout' group.
Outcome measures. Haemodynamic, electrocardiographic and metabolic  measurements at rest and at submaximal and peak exercise levels on admission and after 6 a.,d 18 months of endurance training.
Results. Among the compliers several significant changes took place. Resting heart rate and blood pressure decreased at 6 months (P < 0.(05). Submaximal heart rate, blood pressure, rate-pressure product and ventilation decreased at 6 months (P < 0.0001, P < 0.01, P < 0.001, P < 0.01 respectively), and the .rate-pressure product decreased further at 18 months (P < 0.05). Ventilat~ry threshold increased  at 6 months (P < 0.00(1). Peak oxygen uptake, heart rate and ventilation increased at 6 months (P < 0.0001, P < 0.005 and P < 0.0001, respectively), with no further changes at 18 months. Treadmill time increased at 6 months and again at 18 months (P < 0.00(1). The only Significant change in the dropout group was an increase in ST-segment depression on the exercise ECG from 0.2 to 0.6 mm (P < 0.05).
Conclusion. The study confirms that cardiac rehabilitation is beneficial. Most changes occurred in the first 6 months, the longer period of 18 months serving mostly as reinforcement of these and other lifestyle changes.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135