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HITDCM study

Laatste wijziging: 24 January 2022

The effect of interval training on heart function and blood sugar level regulation in diabetes cardiomyopathy


Principal Investigator: prof. dr. Dominique Hansen, Researcher: Lisa Van Reyckeghem


Physical activity is seen as an important cornerstone in diabetes care. The positive effects of physical activity on the regulation of blood sugar levels, body composition, risk of cardiovascular problems, ... are supported in various international guidelines. One of the major complications of diabetes mellitus type 2 are cardiovascular disorders. One disorder is called diabetes cardiomyopathy in which structural and functional changes occur in the heart, resulting in a reduced heart function. Research has already shown positive effects of training interventions on the cardiac function of diabetes type 2 patients. However, these studies looked at the heart function at rest. It is therefore unclear how the heart functions during an exercise as well as what the effect is of a training intervention on the heart function during exercise.


In this study, 50 diabetes type 2 patients will be randomly divided into 3 groups: 1 control group (no training intervention), 1 group following a moderate intensity training program (up to 65% of the VO2max) and 1 group following a high intensity training program (up to 85% of the VO2max). The training intervention will last for 6 months, followed by a follow-up period of 6 months. At the start of the intervention, the cardiac function of all patients is evaluated by echocardiography, both at rest and during exercise. The following measurements will also be carried out: blood collection, maximum bicycle exercise test and a scan of the body composition (DEXA scan). All these measurements will be performed again at different time points in order to evaluate the effect of the different training interventions. The aim of this study is to investigate the following elements:

  • How does the heart of a diabetes type 2 patient function (compared to a control person)?
  • What is the effect of different training interventions on the heart function of diabetes type 2 patients?
  • What are the underlying mechanisms (in case of diabetes cardiomyopathy)?