Cardiac rehabilitation in patients with pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators
Large subsets of patients admitted in cardiac rehabilitation centers are having a pacemaker, cardiac resynchronization (CRT) or implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD). Cardiac rehabilitation for patients, mostly with heart failure, with implanted electronic devices as pacemakers or ICD is a unique opportunity not only to optimize the medical treatment, to increase their exercise capacity and improves their clinical condition but also to supervise the correct functioning of the device. CRT reduces clinical symptoms and increases slightly the exercise capacity. But in these patients, the clinical improvements are likely to be explained by both the enhancement of cardiac function induced by the device and by the improved peripheral (muscular and vascular) and cardiac effects of exercise. The additional expected gain by exercise in this population is between 14 to 25%. In patients implanted with an ICD, exercise training is safe, without increasing shocks or anti-tachycardia pacing therapy. The comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation combining exercise training and a psycho-educational intervention improves exercise capacity, quality of life, general and mental health. Nevertheless, further large scale studies was needed to evaluate the most appropriate management and demonstrate definitively the role of cardiac rehabilitation in this particular group of patients.
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