Biophysical Agents and Advanced Technologies in the Rehabilitation of Patients with Heart Failure

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States with greater than 600,000 deaths attributed each year. Along with other conditions such as diabetes and obesity, heart disease may lead to heart failure which affects 6.2 million Americans per year (CDC, 2020).

Heart failure is characterized by insufficient blood being pumped to meet the needs of the body. Individuals with heart failure often have activity and exercise intolerance causing them to limit their activity, further perpetuating declines in strength, endurance, and independence which may increase the risk of hospitalization and death. In therapy, the goal is often to increase strength and improve function in these individuals.

  • The Physical Therapist Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Individuals with Heart Failure makes 9 treatment recommendations including aerobic exercise training, inspiratory muscle training, and neuromuscular electrical stimulation (Shoemaker et al., 2020).
  • RCTs and a meta-analysis show exercise training including walking or cycling, inspiratory muscle training, and functional electrical stimulation can improve peak VO2 and 6-minute walk distance in individuals with heat failure with preserved ejection fraction (Fukuta, 2020).
  • Six weeks of functional electrical stimulation resulted in decreased risk of CHF-related hospitalization for patients with heart failure (Katoglou et al., 2017).

Aerobic Exercise with the OmniStand®, OmniCycle®, and OmniVR® may be beneficial in improving functional endurance in patients with heart failure.

Inspiratory Muscle Training including the OmniFlow™ breathing therapy biofeedback system with interactive customizable exercise may be a beneficial tool in breathing therapy for patients with heart failure.

Electrical Stimulation utilizing the OmniVersa® with patterened electrical neuromuscular stimulation (PENS), low volt pulsed current (LVPC), or medium frequency alternating current (MFAC) may improve muscle strength and increase walking distance in patients with heart failure.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heart Failure. (2020).
Fukuta, H. (2020). Effects of Exercise Training on Cardiac Function in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction. Cardiac Failure Review, PMID: 33133641
Kadoglou, N., Mandila, C., Karavidas, A., Farmikas, D., Matzaraki, V., Varounis, C., Arapi, S., Perpinia, A., Parissis, J. (2017). Effect of Functional Electrical Stimulation on Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure.
European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 24(8), 833-839.
Shoemaker, M. J., Dias, K. J., Lefebvre, K. M., Keick, J. D., & Colins, S. M. (2020). Physical Therapist Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Individuals with Heart Failure. Physical Therapy, 100(1), 14-43.


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