Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is remarkably common in elderly people with highly prevalent comorbid conditions. Despite its increasing in prevalence, there is no evidence-based effective therapy for HFpEF. We sought to evaluate whether inspiratory muscle training (IMT) improves exercise capacity, as well as left ventricular diastolic function, biomarker profile and quality of life (QoL) in patients with advanced HFpEF and nonreduced maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP).
A total of 26 patients with HFpEF (median (interquartile range) age, peak exercise oxygen uptake (peak VO2) and left ventricular ejection fraction of 73 years (66-76), 10 ml/min/kg (7.6-10.5) and 72% (65-77), respectively) were randomized to receive a 12-week programme of IMT plus standard care vs. standard care alone. The primary endpoint of the study was evaluated by positive changes in cardiopulmonary exercise parameters and distance walked in 6 minutes (6MWT). Secondary endpoints were changes in QoL, echocardiogram parameters of diastolic function, and prognostic biomarkers.
The IMT group improved significantly their MIP (p < 0.001), peak VO2 (p < 0.001), exercise oxygen uptake at anaerobic threshold (p = 0.001), ventilatory efficiency (p = 0.007), metabolic equivalents (p < 0,001), 6MWT (p < 0.001), and QoL (p = 0.037) as compared to the control group. No changes on diastolic function parameters or biomarkers levels were observed between both groups.
In HFpEF patients with low aerobic capacity and non-reduced MIP, IMT was associated with marked improvement in exercise capacity and QoL.