Title : Heart failure patients: Measuring the effectiveness of a rehabilitation program in relation to physical and mental fatigue, general health and anxiety
Exercise is an important factor of rehabilitation in heart failure patients, improving several indicators of disease prognosis and functional capacity. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of a cardiorespiratory rehabilitation program on the physical and mental fatigue, general health and anxiety in patients suffering from heart failure. Thirty-one patients with heart failure [(M±SD) age: 67.59±7.60 years] participated in a cardiorespiratory rehabilitation program. The program included aerobic exercise on cycle ergometers and muscle strengthening for 3 months (12 weeks), 3 times/week. Before and after the program, patients' fatigue, general and mental health were assessed using the following self-reported questionnaires: a) Fatigue Assessment Scale (FAS), b) Goldberg's General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) and c) Spielberger's Anxiety Questionnaire. Data analysis showed a statistically significant tendency of reduction in social dysfunction (from 1.99±0.42 to 1.75±0.45, p=0.05), while anxiety (from 27.10±7.61 to 26.40±4.35) showed no change (p>0.05). Also, evaluating the changes in the health level after attending the program, there was a trend of improvement in physical activity and functioning with the appearance of fewer physical symptoms (from 1.38±0.43 to 1.24±0.31, p=0,13). These results show that exercise can contribute to increasing the general well-being of these patients and reducing feelings of helplessness, making them able to cope with their daily activities and tasks.