2023 Volume 26 Issue 2 Pages 50-57
Objective: This study aimed to understand the long-term transition of exercise tolerance in patients on phase III cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and clarify the characteristics of patients with a high risk of declined exercise tolerance during the first emergency declaration. Methods: Patients who participated in phase III outpatient CR before the first emergency declaration and those who performed cardiopulmonary exercise testing were at ≥2-time points: before and at 3 or 12 months post-emergency declaration. Exercise tolerance transition at 3-time points was analyzed, and whether different social background factors affected the peak oxygen uptake (VO2) transition method remains to be examined. Results: A total of 101 (median age 74.0 years, 69% men), and both peak VO2 and anaerobic threshold (AT) significantly declined from pre-declaration to 3 months post-declaration but recovered to levels likely similar from pre-declaration at 12 months (peak VO2: from 17.3 to 16.7 to 18.7 mL/min/kg; AT: from 11.8 to 11.2 to 11.6 mL/min/kg). Further, patients with multiple comorbidities at pre-declaration had a significantly lower peak VO2 at 3 months (−1.0 mL/min/kg, p = 0.025) and it remained significantly low in those with a slower gait speed at 12 months after lifting the emergency declaration (−2.5 mL/min/kg, p = 0.009). Conclusion: The emergency declaration declined the exercise tolerance in patients on phase III CR but improved to pre-declaration levels over time, but more likely declined in patients with multiple comorbidities during pre-declaration and those with low-gait speeds were less likely to improve their declined exercise tolerance.