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Effects of interval training on risk markers for arrhythmic death: a randomized controlled trial [with consumer summary]
Boidin M, Gayda M, Henri C, Hayami D, Trachsel LD, Besnier F, Lalonge J, Juneau M, Nigam A
Clinical Rehabilitation 2019 Aug;33(8):1320-1330
clinical trial
6/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: No; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: Yes; Adequate follow-up: Yes; Intention-to-treat analysis: No; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects of high-intensity interval training versus moderate-intensity continuous training on risk markers of arrhythmic death in patients who recently suffered from an acute coronary syndrome. DESIGN: Double-blind (patient and evaluator) randomized controlled trial. SETTING: Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Centre (EPIC Centre) of the Montreal Heart Institute, Montreal, Canada. SUBJECTS: A total of 43 patients were randomized following an acute coronary syndrome. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were assigned to either high-intensity interval training (n = 18) or isocaloric moderate-intensity continuous training (n = 19), three times a week for a total of 36 sessions. MAIN MEASURES: Heart rate recovery for 5 minutes, heart rate variability for 24 hours, occurrence of ventricular arrhythmias, and QT dispersion were measured before and after the 36 sessions of training. RESULTS: Among the 43 patients randomized, 6 participants in the high-intensity interval training group stopped training for reasons unrelated to exercise training and were excluded from the analyses. Heart rate recovery improved solely in the high-intensity interval training group, particularly at the end of recovery period (p < 0.05). There were no differences in heart rate variability, occurrence of ventricular arrhythmias, or QT dispersion parameters between the groups at study end. CONCLUSION: Despite the lack of power to detect any large difference between the two interventions with respect to risk markers of arrhythmic death, high-intensity interval training appears safe and may be more effective at improving heart rate recovery relative to moderate-intensity continuous training in our patients following acute coronary syndrome.

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