Despite a low recruitment rate, findings from an article published online last week in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation suggest that moderate-intensity endurance exercise training is feasible in patients with small abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), and can evoke improvements in important health outcomes.
For this study conducted in the United Kingdom, researchers randomized 28 patients with small AAA (age 72 ± 7 years; mean ± SD) to a 12-week program of moderate-intensity endurance exercise or standard care control (encouragement to exercise only). They assessed safety in terms of the frequency of adverse events and changes in maximum AAA diameter. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and 12 weeks, including cardiopulmonary fitness (ventilatory threshold), health-related quality of life (SF-36v2), and markers of vascular risk (blood pressure and High Sensitivity C-reactive Protein [hs-CRP]).
Adherence to the exercise program was 94%. There were no paradoxical increases in AAA size or adverse clinical events. Ventilatory threshold increased in the exercise group, but not the control group (adjusted mean difference 2.5 mL/kg/min). Systolic blood pressure and hs-CRP decreased in the exercise group compared with the control group. There were no substantial changes in anthropometric variables or quality of life.