Studies: Special exercise program helps patients with pulmonary hypertension

The study shows that an individually adjusted exercise program significantly improves oxygen uptake and cardiac output after just 15 weeks, according to the Heidelberg University Hospital. For the first time, the researchers at the hospital have succeeded in directly demonstrating the effect on cardiac output by means of invasive catheter measurements. The training represents a useful supplement to the drug therapy.

Patients with pulmonary hypertension can benefit significantly from a special exercise therapy.(Image: magicmine / fotolia.com) Patients with pulmonary hypertension can benefit significantly from a special exercise therapy.(Image: magicmine / fotolia.com)

constriction of blood vessels in the lung
pulmonary hypertension is, according to the Heidelberg University Hospital a chronic vascular disease, often as a result of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease( COPD), pulmonary embolism, rheumatic diseases, congenital heart disease orHeart failure occurs. When the disease narrows the small blood vessels of the lungs and grow to some extent cancerous, explain the experts. As a result, the right half of the heart must expend a lot of power and the pumping power will decrease continuously."Those affected get into the slightest effort in severe respiratory distress and have without treatment a very poor prognosis," said the Department of the University Hospital. Although the disease is not curable until today, its progression can be significantly slowed down.

cardiac output evaluated in 95 pulmonary hypertensive patients
The research team led by Professor Ekkehard Grünig from the Thoraxklinik at Heidelberg University Hospital has examined the effect of the special exercise program on 95 medication-adjusted pulmonary hypertensive patients. For this purpose, the participants were divided into a training and a control group and the scientists determined the cardiac output of the subjects at the beginning and at the end of the 15-week observation period. This was done by measuring the oxygen uptake and a right heart catheter examination at rest and under stress. For right heart catheterization, a measuring probe via a catheter in the jugular vein was introduced into the right ventricle, there to detect the pressure and therefore the pumping power, explain the experts at the Heidelberg University Hospital.

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Significant improvements after 15 weeks of training
The researchers found that after 15 weeks of training programMaximum oxygen uptake of the subjects under load significantly improved, which is a sign that the body muscles work more effectively, according to the announcement of the University Hospital. At the same time, the exercise program increased the pumping capacity of the right half of the heart by 20 percent under load. This equals about one liter more blood per minute that passes through the lungs. This "is the first study to record the effect of special pulmonary hypertension training on the cardiovascular system using invasive measurements," says first author Nicola Benjamin( née Ehlken).Thus was the first time succeeded in proving that "an exercise program can improve the cardiac output of critically ill patients."

Now further studies are needed, according to the researchers to capture the impact of the training and the mechanisms underlying detail. However, the current results are important to understand the importance and importance of specific training in patients with pulmonary hypertension. Because "a few years ago there was for patients with pulmonary hypertension no way a guided physical training to pursue, as the risk of excessive demands by the disease gets worse," said Nicola Benjamin.

Restriction of applicability
In the pulmonary hypertension center at the Thoraxklinik Heidelberg in cooperation with the Rehabilitation Clinic Königstuhl Heidelberg the special training for patients with pulmonary hypertension is offered. The successful and Europe-wide known movement therapy is now also recommended in addition to an optimally adjusted drug therapy in the guidelines, reports the University of Heidelberg. However, there is a crucial limitation in the offer."For safety reasons, the training is only low-dose and should begin in a clinic specializing in pulmonary hypertension under the guidance of physicians and physiotherapists," emphasizes Professor Dr. med. Ekkehard Grünig. Most training must be initially adjusted daily and any overexertion could lead to a deterioration.(fp)

Special training strengthens cardiac output in patients with pulmonary hypertension
If the blood pressure in the lungs is significantly increased, doctors speak of pulmonary hypertension. This results in a constantly increased stress on the heart and over time fatigues the vital organ increasingly. In a recent study, scientists at Heidelberg University Hospital have demonstrated that special exercise training can help those affected to improve their cardiac output. The results of the current study were published in the journal "European Heart Journal".

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