Moderate exercise can help people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, say researchers

26th March 2017

A new study has confirmed the benefits of moderate exercise for people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

Researchers looked at brisk walking as a way of improving heart fitness in people with HCM.  They found that the people in the study had no adverse events, though the study was not designed to establish long-term safety.

In the American trial researchers, including Dr Sara Saberi and colleagues from the University of Michigan and Stanford University, looked at the well-being of 136 people aged between 18 and 80 with HCM who followed a four month structured but unsupervised moderate intensity training programme.  They were asked to briskly walk for a minimum of 30 minutes between four and seven days a week.  All received a pedometer and heart rate monitor.

The researchers found the patients, who had a mean age of 50, had a small but significant increase in exercise capacity compared with others who kept to their normal habits.

The exercise did not trigger dangerous heart rhythms, cause a sudden cardiac arrest or make their internal defibrillators go off appropriately. And none of the patients died.

Dr Saberi presented the findings to the American College of Cardiology 2017 scientific sessions.  They were also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

She said that though she encouraged her patients to exercise moderately, they were fearful because they had read about young athletes dying suddenly. She hoped the study would allay some of those fears.

She added that exercise could help keep weight under control and keep diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease at bay.

Cardiomyopathy support nurse Robert Hall, from Cardiomyopathy UK, said: “It’s a fairly small sample, but shows that a structured exercise programme can have some benefits for people with HCM.

Ref: Randomised exploratory study of exercise training in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01127061