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Aims In heart failure (HF), exercise training programmes (ETPs) are a well-recognized intervention to improve symptoms, but are still poorly implemented. The Heart Failure Association promoted a survey to investigate whether and how cardiac centres in Europe are using ETPs in their HF patients. Methods and results The co-ordinators of the HF working groups of the countries affiliated to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) distributed and promoted the 12-item web-based questionnaire in the key cardiac centres of their countries. Forty-one country co-ordinators out of the 46 contacted replied to our questionnaire (89%). This accounted for 170 cardiac centres, responsible for 77 214 HF patients. The majority of the participating centres (82%) were general cardiology units and the rest were specialized rehabilitation units or local health centres. Sixty-seven (40%) centres [responsible for 36 385 (48%) patients] did not implement an ETP. This was mainly attributed to the lack of resources (25%), largely due to lack of staff or lack of financial provision. The lack of a national or local pathway for such a programme was the reason in 13% of the cases, and in 12% the perceived lack of evidence on safety or benefit was cited. When implemented, an ETP was proposed to all HF patients in only 55% of the centres, with restriction according to severity or aetiology. Conclusions With respect to previous surveys, there is evidence of increased availability of ETPs in HF in Europe, although too many patients are still denied a highly recommended therapy, mainly due to lack of resources or logistics.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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