Effect of caloric restriction on heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

Therapies that improve outcomes are lacking for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). The impact of exercise and diet interventions on HFpEF patients has not been studied.  In this single center study of 100 patients,  the effect of caloric restriction (~400 kcal/day) and or aerobic exercise training (3x a week hour long supervised sessions) on co-primary outcomes of exercise capacity (measured by peak oxygen consumption) and quality of life (QOL) (measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire) were evaluated using a 2×2 factorial design,.  Additional exploratory outcomes included: exercise time, 6-minute walk distance, ventilator anaerobic threshold, ventilation/carbon dioxide output slope, other QOL measures (Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire, 36-item Short-Form Health Survey), and left ventricular mass and volume. Patient included were obese (BMI >30) with HFpEF (EF ≥ 50%) without segmental wall motion abnormalities, significant valvular or ischemic disease, or pulmonary disease.  The majority of patients in this trial were female, NYHA class II or III, hypertensive, and on diuretic therapy.Both diet and exercise interventions significantly increased exercise capacity (peak VO2, diet 1.3ml/kg body mass/min, 95% CI 0.8-1.8, P <0.001 and exercise, 1.2ml/kg body mass/min, 95% CI, 0.7-1.7, p <0.001) and had an additive effect with improvement in peak VO2 of 2.5ml/kg/min.  There was no difference in QOL by MLHF with either diet or exercise (exercise, -1 unit, 95% -8-5, p 0.7; diet -6 unit, -12-1, p 0.08).


Conclusion: Although the 20-week diet and exercise interventions improved peak VO2 amongh patients with HFpEF, the lack of improvement in QOL scores raise questions about the clinical significance of these findings.  While diet and exercise may not significantly impact HRpEF symptoms, optimizing diet and exercise remains central to cardiovascular health.


Summarized by Lauren E. Thompson and Steven M. Bradley


Kitzman DW, et al. Effect of Caloric Restriction or Aerobic Exercise Training
on Peak Oxygen Consumption and Quality of Life in Obese Older Patients With Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction
A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2016 Jan 5;315(1):36-46