The call is made for the first time and concerns non-commercial research projects in the field of sports cardiology and in the field of sudden cardiac death related to physical activities.
The research can be centred on basic insights, or cover broad aspects related to the clinical practice.
Background: Exercise training is an important treatment strategy in order to increase peak oxygen uptake in adult patients with congenital heart disease (ACHD). Nevertheless, only a minority of ACHD patients receives formal exercise advice or training. Participation to a structured Cardiac Rehabilitation program often needs to overcome logistical challenges in this young population as it requires considerable input of time and resources. Home-based rehabilitation can be an opportunity in this patient population.
Objective: In this research project, the effect of a home-based supervised combined endurance resistance training program on exercise capacity will be investigated in the young, asymptomatic population of ACHD. Secondary, changes in prognostic ventilatory parameters, muscle strength, quality of life, daily activity and safety of the home-based program will be assessed.
Methods: 50 ACHD patients will be randomized 1/1 to an intervention group, receiving tailored home-based bike training and strength training, or a control group receiving the standard general exercise advise. In the intervention group, attention will be paid to assess exercise adherence and training compliance by means of an online application which serves as a bridge between patient and physiotherapist.
Outcome: In both groups, physical function tests (Cardiopulmonary exercise test and 1RM muscle strength tests) will be performed to define VO2peak, ventilatory markers of exercise and maximal muscle strength at baseline and after 16 weeks. Quality of life will be reported in both groups using utility scores and changes in daily physical activity will be measured by an activity tracker. Safety of the home-based rehabilitation will be assessed by documenting adverse events, hospitalization and all-cause mortality.
Discussion: We hypothesize that the implementation of strength training will significantly impact quality of life. Shifting the intervention to the patients home, we are convinced to reach more ACHD patients with the beneficial effects of exercise training.