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(January 13, 2009)

Exercise and heart failure

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Heart failure, when the heart loses ability to pump blood, can affect a person’s ability to be physically active. But researchers say patients who can exercise regularly could improve their heart health, and feel better about their lives.

Kathryn Flynn of Duke University Medical Center found that in data on more than 2,300 patients.  Some patients got usual care; others also got aerobic exercise.

Exercisers had modest improvements in heart function and quality of life.

In previous decades, such patients were told not to exercise, but things are different now.

[Kathryn Flynn speaks] ``It is very safe for heart failure patients to exercise – and even to begin a really rather vigorous training program – under the care of their physician.’’

The study presented at an American Heart Association meeting was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: January, 13 2009