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Ed Yeates ReportingThe government wants to know if people suffering from heart failure can stay out of the hospital and live longer doing a regimen of exercises at home. The National Institute of Health is investing big bucks to find the answers, and it's asking three-thousand study volunteers for a challenging commitment.
LDS Hospital here is one of 52 medical centers in the United States and Canada that will enroll volunteers for the landmark 37 million dollar, five year study.
What if you trained people diagnosed with heart failure to do specific exercises on a treadmill or a stationary bicycle at home? Volunteers get the equipment free of charge, but they must commit to a three-month training program followed by tailor-made exercises at home for at least three years.
Frank Yanowitz, M.D., LDS Hospital Fitness Institute: "The challenge of this study is to take individuals who are relatively sick from heart disease and motivate them to exercise five days a week at a particular intensity. To comply to our recommendations and our training program is a real challenge."
Some believe exercise might keep aging people with heart failure out of the hospital, reducing costs, and enabling them to live even longer. But Dr. Frank Yanowitz says researchers so far have no long-term data to back the theory.
Frank Yanowitz, M.D., LDS Hospital Fitness Institute: "We know, for example, that many things that sounded good for health when studied in randomized fashion have turned out either to have no benefit or perhaps even to have harm."
Study volunteers must be eighteen or older, suffering from more than just mild heart failure, and they must be exercise free - that is they cannot have exercised prior to the study.
So what does 83-yearold Max Jenkins, who’s had three heart attacks, think about such a study?
Max Jenkins, Heart Patient: "I think it is a wonderful study. Sounds like it will take quite a commitment on the part of the patients."
In our ever-expanding aging population, five-million people now suffer from heart failure with more than 500-thousand new cases being added to the tally each year.
Those interested in participating in the study can call 801-408-8618.