Graham Stuart and Guido Pieles collaborated with Craig Williams at the University of Exeter to publish a Cochrane Review, which gathered evidence for the effectiveness of physical activity interventions for people with congenital heart disease.
The Review compared three types of interventions from 15 trials, including programmes designed to increase physical activity, aerobic fitness and health-related quality of life. It found some evidence for increased physical fitness and physical activity, although there are no data yet to suggest this results in fewer hospital visits.
Exercise used to be discouraged in patients with CHD. This was poor advice and led to an increase in cardiovascular and psychosocial morbidity.
Our Cochrane Review has shown that there is a need for further research to demonstrate why exercise benefits disordered cardiovascular physiology and to establish whether the multiple theoretical benefits of exercise training can translate into improved clinical outcomes.
All authors of Cochrane systematic reviews are now expected to use the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool (ROB2) to assess the risk of bias in any randomized controlled trials they identify, to help people understand the trustworthiness of the findings. This was the first Cochrane Review to use ROB2 methodology.
This post first appeared in the March 2021 BHI Newsletter