(HealthDay News) — For patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, moderate-intensity exercise is associated with a small but statistically significant increase in exercise capacity at 16 weeks, according to a study published online March 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research was published to coincide with the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, held from March 17 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

Sara Saberi, M.D., from the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial involving 136 patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Patients were randomized to 16 weeks of moderate-intensity exercise training or usual activity (67 and 69 patients, respectively).

The researchers note that 113 patients completed the study. The change in mean peak oxygen consumption was +1.35 and +0.08 mL/kg/min among participants in the exercise-training and usual-activity groups, respectively (between group difference, 1.27). No occurrences of sustained ventricular arrhythmia, sudden cardiac arrest, appropriate defibrillator shock, or death were seen in either group.

“Defining a safe level of exercise for patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is still a work in progress,” the authors of an accompanying editorial write. “But it remains possible that simple interventions such as recreational exercise might also hold the potential to improve disease course in the long run. Larger studies with longer follow-up will be needed to find out.”

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