Guidelines recommend that exercise training be considered for medically stable outpatients with heart failure. Previous studies have not had adequate statistical power to measure the effects of exercise training on clinical outcomes.
To test the efficacy and safety of exercise training among patients with heart failure.
Design, Setting, and Patients
Multicenter, randomized controlled trial among 2331 medically stable outpatients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction. Participants in Heart Failure: A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise Training (HF-ACTION) were randomized from April 2003 through February 2007 at 82 centers within the United States, Canada, and France; median follow-up was 30 months.
Usual care plus aerobic exercise training, consisting of 36 supervised sessions followed by home-based training, or usual care alone.
Main Outcome Measures
Composite primary end point of all-cause mortality or hospitalization and prespecified secondary end points of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality or cardiovascular hospitalization, and cardiovascular mortality or heart failure hospitalization.
The median age was 59 years, 28% were women, and 37% had New York Heart Association class III or IV symptoms. Etiology was ischemic in 51%. Median left ventricular ejection fraction was 25%. Exercise adherence decreased from a median of 95 minutes per week during months 4 through 6 of follow-up to 74 minutes per week during months 10 through 12. A total of 759 (65%) patients in the exercise group died or were hospitalized, compared with 796 (68%) in the usual care group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84–1.02; P = .13). There were nonsignificant reductions in the exercise training group for mortality (189 [16%] in the exercise group vs 198 [17%] in the usual care group; HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.79–1.17; P = .70), cardiovascular mortality or cardiovascular hospitalization (632 [55%] in the exercise group vs 677 [58%] in the usual care group; HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.83–1.03; P = .14), and cardiovascular mortality or heart failure hospitalization (344 [30%] in the exercise group vs 393 [34%] in the usual care group; HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.75–1.00; P = .06). In prespecified supplementary analyses adjusting for highly prognostic baseline characteristics, the HRs were 0.89 (95% CI, 0.81–0.99; P = .03) for all-cause mortality or hospitalization, 0.91 (95% CI, 0.82–1.01; P = .09) for cardiovascular mortality or cardiovascular hospitalization, and 0.85 (95% CI, 0.74–0.99; P = .03) for cardiovascular mortality or heart failure hospitalization. Other adverse events were similar between the groups.
In the protocol-specified primary analysis, exercise training resulted in nonsignificant reductions in the primary end point of all-cause mortality or hospitalization and in key secondary clinical end points. After adjustment for highly prognostic predictors of the primary end point, exercise training was associated with modest significant reductions for both all-cause mortality or hospitalization and cardiovascular mortality or heart failure hospitalization.
clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00047437