Patients with heart failure can tolerate swimming and immersion in water, according to a new study.
Researchers examined 10 patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) and 10 with coronary artery disease (CAD) and compared their performance in water at 32 degrees Centigrade with 10 healthy subjects.
All subjects were able to increase their cardiac index (output of blood per minute) during immersion, although some patients with heart failure showed a decrease in the volume of blood ejected.
Oxygen uptake during swimming was 9.7 millilitres per kilogram per minute in patients with CHF, compared with 12.4 ml/kg/min in CAD patients and 13.9 ml/kg/min in healthy subjects.
They conclude that patients with severely reduced left ventricular function but stable clinical conditions tolerate water immersion and swimming well. Although cardiac index and oxygen uptake are lower than controls, they are able to increase cardiac index adequately.
Heart (2006) Online Publication. DOI: 10.1136/hrt.2006.094870