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Arch Hellen Med, 39(2), March-April 2022, 163-173


Heart failure and exercise: The role of the physiotherapist

K. Vasileiadi,1 S. Andreadou,1,2 I. Patsaki,1,3 A. Christakou1,4
1Scientific Department of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Panhellenic Physiotherapy-Rehabilitation, Athens,
2General Hospital of Chalkida, Chalkida,
3"Evaggelismos" General Hospital of Athens, Athens, 4Department of Physiotherapy, University of Peloponnese, Greece

Heart failure (HF) is a clinical syndrome characterized by reduced systolic capacity of the myocardium, resulting in the supply to peripheral tissues of an insufficient amount of blood to meet their metabolic needs. HF is a condition in which the heart is unable to perform its role as a blood pump, because of various structural or functional abnormalities that reduce its effectiveness. The main symptoms of HF are shortness of breath, easy fatigue and fluid retention, which can lead to pulmonary or peripheral edema. In addition to medical treatment and care, research regarding exercise in HF has been increasing, and in recent years, the value of strengthening exercises has been investigated. Following systematic literature review, it can be concluded that combined exercises with the appropriate parameters have the best effect on the cardiovascular parameters and the muscular system of patients with HF, and ultimately on their quality of life. The improvement of the patient's health is achieved with individualized exercise, mainly the aerobic form, and strengthening exercises. Recently, programs based on electrical neuromuscular stimulation and remote-controlled exercise at home have been tested successfully in specific groups of patients.

Key words: Exercise, Heart failure, Rehabilitation, Strengthening.

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