Effects of a simple cardiac rehabilitation program on improvement of self-reported physical activity in atrial fibrillation - Data from the RACE 3 study

B.O. Nguyen, E.P.J.P. Wijtvliet, A.H. Hobbelt, S.I.M. De Vries, M.D. Smit, R.G. Tieleman, D.J. Van Veldhuisen, H.J.G.M. Crijns, I.C. Van Gelder, M. Rienstra*, RACE 3 Investigators

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and aim: Physical inactivity is associated with an increased prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF). We aim to evaluate whether cardiac rehabilitation (CR) motivates patients to become and stay physical active, and whether CR affects sinus rhythm maintenance and quality of life (QoL) in patients with persistent AF and moderate heart failure.Methods: In the Routine versus Aggressive risk factor driven upstream rhythm Control for prevention of Early atrial fibrillation in heart failure study patients were randomized to conventional or targeted therapy. Targeted therapy contained next to optimal risk factor management a 3-month CR program, including self-reported physical activity and counseling. Successful physical activity was assessed in the targeted group, defined as activity of moderate intensity >= 150 min/week, or >= 75 min/week of vigorous intensity. AF was assessed at 1 year on 7-days Holter monitoring, QoL using general health, fatigue and AF symptom questionnaires.Results: All 119 patients within the targeted group participated in the CR program, 106 (89%) completed it. At baseline 80 (67%) patients were successfully physical active, 39 (33%) were not. NTproBNP was lower in active patients. During 1-year follow-up physical active patients stayed active: 72 (90%) at 12 weeks, 72 (90%) at 1 year. Inactive patients became active: at 12 weeks 25 (64%) patients and 30 (77%) at 1 year. No benefits were seen on sinus rhythm maintenance and QoL for successful physical active patients.Conclusion: In patients with persistent AF and moderate heart failure participation in CR contributes to improve and to maintain physical activity. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Original languageEnglish
Article number100673
Number of pages5
JournalIJC Heart and Vasculature
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • atrial fibrillation
  • burden
  • cardiac rehabilitation
  • health
  • management
  • physical activity
  • term
  • Physical activity
  • TERM
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Atrial Fibrillation

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