Coronary artery disease is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Therefore prevention and treatment after myocardial infarction are crucial. Treatment and prevention are usually implemented through cardiac rehabilitation, which is mostly based on aerobic exercise training. Resistance training is currently discouraged in this population due to high training loads. Blood flow restricted resistance exercise has shown that improvements in muscle strength and hypertrophy can be achieved with loads as low as 20 % 1 RM.
The aim of this study was to examine the effect of 8 weeks of blood flow restricted resistance exercise with training loads between 30 % to 40 % 1 RM on physiological parameters, muscle parameters and subjective health assessment of coronary artery disease patients.
The results confirm the safety of examined method and indicate positive effect of exercise on the health of coronary heart disease patients. Moreover, exercise training was associated with trends in improvement for most appraised parameters, namely vascular function, muscle hypertrophy and strength, which was found significant. Additionally, we have demonstrated a decreased in acute and chronical responses of blood biomarkers (fibrinogen, D-dimer and natriuretic peptides) to exercise. Alongside all objectively measured parameters, we have also observed significant improvement of experimental group in overall health through the results of SF-36 questionnaire.
Blood flow restricted resistance exercise can be recommended as a complement to the core components of cardiac rehabilitation. Risk assessment by a cardiologist and supervision by healthcare professionals is advised to assure safety of the training programme.