2017 Volume 58 Issue 5 Pages 746-751
Participation in a comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation (CR) program has been shown to reduce mortality and improve exercise capacity and symptoms in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Reduced exercise capacity leads to a concomitant reduction of skeletal muscle mass and accumulation of body fat. However, it is currently unknown whether CR reduces visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and/or subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (SAT) in patients with CHF. In addition, the body composition associated with improved exercise capacity after CR in patients with CHF has not been previously studied. Nineteen CHF patients who were categorized as NYHA functional class II or III and had received optimal medical treatment including a CR program for 5 months were enrolled in this study. The CR program significantly increased peak VO2 and reduced B-type natriuretic peptide. In addition, fat and body composition analysis showed reductions in the visceral fat tissue (VAT) area, subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (SAT) area, body weight, and total fat weight after CR. There were no changes in total water weight and total muscle weight. Single regression analysis revealed that the amelioration of reduced exercise capacity seen after CR is associated with reduced VAT area but not with SAT area or body weight. In conclusion, CR reduces VAT and improves exercise capacity in patients with CHF. This suggests that reducing VAT is important for CR to be most effective in the treatment of CHF.