Prevention Research Center to study benefits of home-based exercise in heart failure

October 31, 2001

The Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, part of the Yale School of Medicine, has been awarded a two-year, nearly $200,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to investigate the benefits of a home-based exercise program for patients with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).

The study will determine the effectiveness of a tailored, home-based exercise regimen on quality of life and functional capacity, and will measure such outcomes as hospitalization rates, emergency department visits and quality of life.

"This study is very exciting," said principal investigator David L. Katz, M.D., associate clinical professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale School of Medicine "because it explores a way to improve health and function in heart failure patients without relying solely on medication. We also hope to show that this approach is financially practical, meaning that heart failure care costs less with this program than without it."

The current study builds on the success of a Chronic Disease Management Program for Heart Failure, developed by Griffin Hospital, and studied by Katz and colleagues. Results of the study, published in the scientific journal Disease Management, showed that the program significantly reduced emergency room visits, hospital admissions, length of hospital stays and costs of care over a one-year period. Participants in the current study will receive the program of individualized case management, with or without the addition of the exercise program. A physical activity/cardiac rehabilitation specialist will supervise each participant's exercise program.

"Physical activity has known benefit in heart failure," said Katz, who is director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. "We anticipate that this program can help patients stay active and thereby provide significant health benefits. We hope that adults living in the area who have congestive heart failure will talk to their doctors about participating in the study. Subjects will benefit by learning a great deal about how to manage heart failure well, and will help us learn how to further reduce hospitalization and improve health outcomes for those with this common and often serious condition."

Approximately 4.8 million Americans currently have congestive heart failure (CHF), with over 450,000 cases occurring each year. Often the consequence of one or more heart attacks, CHF is the most common cause of hospital admissions among American adults, resulting in more than 900,000 hospitalizations annually. Costs associated with CHF are staggering, exceeding $10 to $15 billion yearly.

In addition to having a diagnosis of CHF, patients in this study will need to meet certain other eligibility criteria. To participate in the study or for further information, contact the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center at 732-1265, or cats@yalegriffinprc.org.
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Yale University

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