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Palau P, Núñez E, Dominguez E, Sanchis J, Núñez J

Physical therapy in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: A systematic review.

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2016 Jan;23(1):4-13, PMID: 25488549

About 50% of patients with heart failure (HF) have preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) which is especially common in elderly people with highly prevalent co-morbid conditions. HFpEF is usually defined as an ejection fraction equal to or greater than 50%, although some studies have used a limit as low as 40%. The prevalence of this syndrome is expected to increase over the next decades. The associated impact on mortality and hospital readmissions has made of this entity a major public health issue. Despite the fact that mortality and re-hospitalisation rates of HFpEF are similar to the syndrome of HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), currently there is no available evidence-based therapy as effective as is the case for HFrEF. Exercise intolerance is the principal clinical feature in HFpEF. The pathophysiological mechanisms behind impaired exercise capacity in these patients are complex and not yet fully elucidated. Current guidelines and consensus documents recommend the implementation of exercise training in HFpEF; however, they are based mostly on results from a few small trials evaluating surrogate endpoints such as exercise capacity and quality of life. The aim of this work was to review the current evidence that supports the effect of the different modalities of physical therapies in HFpEF.


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