Exercise doesn't trigger inappropriate internal defibrillator (ICD) shocks in most heart failure patients, a trial has shown.
The proportion of patients who got a shock in the following two years was no higher among those doing aerobic exercise training than those who didnâ€™t (20 per cent versus 22 per cent), said Dr Jonathan Piccini, from the Duke Clinical Research Institute in America.
Although an exercise-induced irregular heart rate was a predictor of shocks, exercise training itself was not, Dr Piccinni and colleagues reported in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
"Exercise therapy should not be prohibited in ICD recipients with heart failure for fear of inducing ventricular dysrhythmias that precipitate ICD firing," the group concluded, calling the results reassuring.
But diagnostic exercise testing before starting such a programme could help screen out those more likely to get a shock with exercise, they added.
Patients often worry about the safety of exercise and fear getting shocked, although guidelines recommend exercise for its benefits in heart failure, the group noted.
Doctors evaluating patients for exercise training may find ICD shock predictors helpful and may be able to use diagnostic exercise testing both to look for exercise-induced irregular heart rates that would precipitate shocks and to programme the device, the researchers noted.
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