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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 591708, 8 pages
Review Article

Effects of Exercise Training on Autonomic Function in Chronic Heart Failure: Systematic Review

1Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Zhongxing Branch of Taipei City Hospital, Taipei 10341, Taiwan
2Department of Rehabilitation, Keelung Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Keelung 20147, Taiwan
3School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10051, Taiwan
4Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei 10002, Taiwan
5Physical Therapy Center of National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei 10002, Taiwan

Received 29 May 2015; Revised 10 September 2015; Accepted 13 September 2015

Academic Editor: Andrew J. Coats

Copyright © 2015 Chung-Yin Hsu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. Cardiac autonomic imbalance accompanies the progression of chronic heart failure (CHF). It is unclear whether exercise training could modulate autonomic control in CHF. This study aimed to review systematically the effects of exercise training on heart rate recovery (HRR) and heart rate variability (HRV) in patients with CHF. Methods. Literatures were systematically searched in electronic databases and relevant references. Only published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) focusing on exercise training for CHF were eligible for inclusion. Outcome measurements included HRR and HRV parameters. Results. Eight RCTs were eligible for inclusion and provided data on 280 participants (186 men). The participants were 52–70 years of age with New York Heart Association functional class II-III of CHF. Each study examined either aerobic or resistance exercise. Two trials addressed outcome of HRR and six HRV among these studies. Two RCTs showed that moderate aerobic exercise could improve HRR at 2 minutes after exercise training in CHF. Five of six RCTs demonstrated positive effects of exercise training on HRV which revealed the increments in high frequency (HF) and decrements in LF (low frequency)/HF ratio after training. Conclusion. Participation in an exercise training program has positive effects on cardiac autonomic balance in patients with CHF.