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HFIR study

Laatste wijziging: 24 January 2022

Influence of exercise intervention on insulin resistance in patients with heart failure


Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Paul Dendale, Researcher: Dr. An Stevens


During the last 50 years, the western world is confronted with a progressive increase in prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, which is characterized among other things by insulin resistance and diabetes. Because the metabolic syndrome is associated with a sedentary lifestyle, exercise intervention is one of the most important therapies. The positive effects of regular physical activity have already been demonstrated several times. However, with an aging population a different problem is emerging that is also related to the metabolic syndrome. At the moment, the prevalence of chronic heart failure, which is strongly linked to insulin resistance, has reached ~ 30% of seniors of  65 years and older. The prevalence of insulin resistance in the population of patients with heart failure is estimated to be more than 30%, excluding the patients with diabetes. This co-morbidity has a detrimental influence on the NYHA functional class, and on life expectancy.


Although the feasibility, safety and benefits of cardiac rehabilitation with physical training are generally accepted, the effects on insulin resistance are not well known. Therefore, we want to study the effects of exercise intervention I on insulin resistance and on several physical parameters (training capacity, muscle strength, body composition) in a population of patients with heart failure.


In healthy subjects and in other pathologies (besides heart failure) the key roles of the skeletal muscle metabolism (metabolic enzymes, volume of mitochondria, glucose transport), lipid metabolism, cytokines, adiponectin and specific hormones (IGF, GH, cortisol) on the regulation of blood glucose will be studied. It, therefore, seems worthwhile to study the functioning of these mechanisms in a population of patients with heart failure.



  • Stevens AL, Hansen D, Herbots L, Wens I, Creemers A, Dendale P, Eijnde BO. Exercise training improves insulin release during glucose tolerance testing in stable chronic heart failure patients. J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2015;35(1):37-46.


  • Stevens ALM,  Hansen D, Vandoren D, Westerlaken R, Creemers A, Eijnde BO, Dendale P. Mandatory oral glucose tolerance tests identify more diabetics in stable patients with chronic heart failure: a prospective observational study. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2014; 6: 44.