A theory-based exercise intervention in patients with heart failure: A protocol for randomized, controlled trial

Fatemeh Rajati, Firoozeh Mostafavi, Gholamreza Sharifirad, Masoomeh Sadeghi, Kamran Tavakol, Awat Feizi, Tahereh Pashaei


  • Background: Regular exercise has been associated with improved quality of life (QoL) in patients with heart failure (HF). However, less is known on the theoretical framework, depicting how educational intervention on psychological, social, and cognitive variables affects physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study is to assess the effectiveness of a social cognitive theory-based (SCT-based) exercise intervention in patients with HF.
  • Materials and Methods: This is a randomized controlled trial, with measurements at baseline, immediately following the intervention, and at 1, 3, and 6 months follow-up. Sixty patients who are referred to the cardiac rehabilitation (CR) unit and meet the inclusion criteria will be randomly allocated to either an intervention group or a usual-care control group. Data will be collected using various methods (i.e., questionnaires, physical tests, paraclinical tests, patients’ interviews, and focus groups). The patients in the intervention group will receive eight face-to-face counseling sessions, two focus groups, and six educational sessions over a 2-month period. The intervention will include watching videos, using book and pamphlets, and sending short massage services to the participants. The primary outcome measures are PA and QoL. The secondary outcome measures will be the components of SCT, heart rate and blood pressure at rest, body mass index, left ventricular ejection fraction, exercise capacity, and maximum heart rate.
  • Conclusion: The findings of this trial may assist with the development of a theoretical model for exercise intervention in CR. The intervention seems to be promising and has the potential to bridge the gap of the usually limited and incoherent provision of educational care in the CR setting.
  • Key words: Cardiac rehabilitation, exercise, heart failure, quality of life, randomized controlled trial, social cognitive theory

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