Relevance of water gymnastics in rehabilitation programs in patients with chronic heart failure or coronary artery disease with normal left ventricular function

Daline Teffaha, Laurent Mourot, Philippe Vernochet, Fawzi Ounissi, Jacques Regnard, Catherine Monpère, Benoit Dugué

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Exercise training is included in cardiac rehabilitation programs to enhance physical capacity and cardiovascular function. Among the existing rehabilitation programs, exercises in water are increasingly prescribed. However, it has been questioned whether exercises in water are safe and relevant in patients with stable chronic heart failure (CHF), coronary artery disease (CAD) with normal systolic left ventricular function. The goal was to assess whether a rehabilitation program, including water-based gymnastic exercises, is safe and induces at least similar benefits as a traditional land-based training. Methods and Results: Twenty-four male CAD patients and 24 male CHF patients with stable clinical status participated in a 3-week rehabilitation. They were randomized to either a group performing the training program totally on land (CADl, CHFl; endurance + callisthenic exercises) or partly in water (CADw, CHFw; land endurance + water callisthenic exercises). Before and after rehabilitation, left ventricular systolic and cardiorespiratory functions, hemodynamic variables and autonomic nervous activities were measured. No particular complications were associated with both of our programs. At rest, significant improvements were seen in CHF patients after both types of rehabilitation (increases in stroke volume and left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF]) as well as a decrease in heart rate (HR) and in diastolic arterial pressure. Significant increases in peaks V̇O2, HR, and power output were observed in all patients after rehabilitation in exercise test. The increase in LVEF at rest, in HR and power output at the exercise peak were slightly higher in CHFw than in CHFl. Conclusions: Altogether, both land and water-based programs were well tolerated and triggered improvements in cardiorespiratory function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-683
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiac Failure
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • Cardiac disease
  • cardiovascular system
  • exercise training
  • rehabilitation
  • water-based exercises

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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