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A Home-Based Exercise Program Improves Heart Rate Variability and Functional Capacity Among Postmenopausal Women With Coronary Artery Disease

Lai, Fu-Chih PhD, RN; Tu, Shih-Ting MSN, RN; Huang, Chi-Hung MD; Jeng, Chii PhD, RN

The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing: March-April 2011 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - p 137-144
doi: 10.1097/JCN.0b013e3181ed9424
ARTICLES: Cardiovascular Risk Reduction
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Aims: To determine whether a home-based exercise program is able to increase functional capacity (FC) and reduce heart rate variability (HRV) in postmenopausal women with coronary heart disease.

Background: Regular exercise training has been shown to improve both FC and HRV. However, those studies were conducted within institutional training programs, and few have included women.

Methods: Thirty-two postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to either an experimental or control group with 16 participants in each group. Those in the experimental group underwent home-based exercise training, 3 times a week for 8 weeks. On the first and final week, each participant's HRV was measured, and their FC was evaluated using a 6-minute walking test.

Findings: After 8 weeks, the FC of those who had undergone the home-based exercise program showed a significant improvement compared with subjects in the control group (P = .001). The total power (ms2), high-frequency (ms2), and low-frequency (ms2) indexes of HRV were also significantly improved over control values.

Conclusion: In postmenopausal women with coronary heart disease, a home-based exercise program appears able to improve FC and HRV.

Fu-Chih Lai, PhD, RN Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan.

Shih-Ting Tu, MSN, RN Instructor, Cathay General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

Chi-Hung Huang, MD Director, Intensive Care Unit, Department of Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Cathay General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

Chii Jeng, PhD, RN Professor, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan.

Correspondence Chii Jeng, PhD, RN, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, 250 Wu-Hsing St, Taipei, Taiwan (chii@tmu.edu.tw).

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