High-intensity interval training in patients with left ventricular assist devices: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Ignacio Moreno-Suarez, Anna Scheer, Kaitlyn Lam, Lawrence Dembo, Angela L. Spence, Christopher Hayward, David M. Kaye, Angela Leet, Louise M. Fuller, Angela Jacques, Louise H. Naylor, Daniel J. Green, Andrew Maiorana (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation is an established treatment for patients with advanced heart failure. To date, studies evaluating the impact of aerobic training in patients with LVADs have focused on moderate-intensity exercise. METHODS: This pilot randomized controlled trial compared the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with those of moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) on peak oxygen consumption (V̇O2 peak) in patients with LVADs. Secondary outcomes included 6-minute walk test distance, flow-mediated dilation, and anthropometry. Assessments were conducted at baseline and after 12 weeks of supervised training performed 3 times weekly. Participants were randomized to HIIT (4 sets of 4 minutes at 80%–90% V̇O2 reserve, alternating with 3 minutes at 50%–60% V̇O2 reserve) or MICT groups (28 minutes continuously at 50%–60% V̇O2 reserve). Within and between-group differences were analyzed using linear mixed models. Data are expressed as marginal means with 95% confidence intervals or as mean ± SD. RESULTS: A total of 21 participants were randomized (HIIT: age 57.7 ± 13.1 years; n = 11 and MICT: age 55.6 ± 14.2 years; n = 10) (mean ± SD). No major adverse events occurred in response to training in either group. HIIT significantly improved V̇O2 peak (15.6 [13.2–17.8] to 18.4 [16.0–20.8] ml/kg/min) (marginal mean [95% CI]) compared with MICT (16.2 [13.8–18.7] to 17.2 [14.6–19.7] ml/kg/min; p < 0.05 between groups). No significant group differences were detected in secondary outcomes. CONCLUSION: In patients with LVADs, HIIT was well tolerated and increased aerobic capacity more than MICT. These preliminary findings support the prescription of high-intensity exercise in clinically stable patients with LVADs but warrant validation in a larger sample and across a broader range of physiologic and clinical outcomes. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: https://www.anzctr.org.au, unique identifier: ACTRN12616001596493.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1380-1388
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • aerobic capacity
  • anthropometry
  • endothelial function
  • exercise training
  • high intensity
  • left ventricular assist device
  • six minute walk test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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