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01.12.2020 | original article | Ausgabe 23-24/2020 Open Access

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 23-24/2020

A little is better than none: the biggest gain of physical activity in patients with ischemic heart disease

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 23-24/2020
Dr. Mag. Alexandra Huber, PhD, MSc Assoc.-Prof. Stefan Höfer, MD Hugo Saner, PhD Neil Oldridge
Wichtige Hinweise
The authors A. Huber and S. Höfer contributed equally to the manuscript.

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There is a relationship between physical activity and health-related quality of life (HRQL) in healthy people and in patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD). The purpose of this study was to determine whether this relationship between sports or recreational physical activity levels and HRQL has a dose-response gradient in patients with IHD.


Using one generic and three IHD-specific HRQL questionnaires, differences in HRQL scores (adjusted for confounders) were determined for physically a) inactive vs. active patients and b) inactive vs. patients being active 1–2, 3–5, or >5 times per week.


Data were provided by 6143 IHD-patients (angina: N = 2033; myocardial infarction: N = 2266; ischemic heart failure: N = 1844). Regardless of diagnosis or instrument used, when patients were dichotomized as either inactive or active, the latter reported throughout higher physical and emotional HRQL (all p < 0.001; d = 0.25–0.70). When categorized by physical activity levels, there was a positive HRQL dose-response gradient by increasing levels of physical activity that was most marked between inactive patients and those being active 1–2 times per week (63 82%). Conclusions: Using generic and IHD-specific HRQL questionnaires, there seems to be an overall dose-dependent gradient betweenincreasing levels of sports or recreational physical activity and higher HRQL in patients with angina, myocardial infarction, and ischemic heart failure. The greatest bang for the public health buck still lies on putting all the effort in changing sedentary lifestyle to at least a moderate active one (1–2 times per week), in particular in cardiac rehabilitation settings.

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