Exercise may be an important part of the road to better health after angioplasty, a procedure to widen arteries narrowed by plaque. Researchers found that participation in a moderate exercise program after angioplasty resulted in fewer repeat procedures, lower hospitalization rates and better quality of life.
Led by Romualdo Belardinelli from Lancisi Institute in Ancona, Italy, researchers studied 118 patients after angioplasty. Half of the patients were enrolled in a cardiologist-supervised exercise program three times a week for six months, while the other half were told to take it easy for six months.
Patients in the exercise group experienced significant improvements in breathing and heart performance, and had less progression in the narrowing of their arteries. The number of patients who experienced narrowing of their arteries after angioplasty was similar in both groups, however. Another success from the exercise group was that fewer of its participants experienced a serious problem such as heart attack, repeat heart bypass or death, compared to participants in the non-exercise group. The exercisers were also less than half as likely to require admission to a hospital during the six-month study.
“It is important to run a program of cardiovascular prevention after coronary angioplasty. It can reduce the need for new hospitalizations and improve quality of life and outcomes. These results should convince cardiologists about the usefulness of programs of rehabilitation/prevention in patients who had coronary angioplasty,” concludes Belardinelli.
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