Cardiac Rehabilitation in Young Patients with Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Children’s Heart Association of Cincinnati Project Commitment - $20,000

Primary Investigator: John Lynn Jefferies, MD, M.P.H., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A., F.H.F.S.A.
Co-Investigator: Samuel Wittekind, MD
Study Timeline: Fall 2016-Spring 2018

This is a prospective study looking at the safety, feasibility, and early benefits of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) for young patients with nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). DCM, a type of heart muscle disease that causes the heart to thin and not pump well, is a deadly and costly disease. There is a disproportionate incidence of depression, anxiety, and low quality of life (QOL) in this population. CR for adults with heart failure is now is a class 1 recommendation from the American Heart Association. It is important to demonstrate whether such therapy is safe and efficacious for pediatric DCM.

At the Heart Institute at CCHMC we have both a large pediatric cardiomyopathy population and an experienced and excellent exercise lab with a CR program. Studying the effects of prescribed exercise is a key step in realizing the full potential of CR. This study is innovative because it will be the first to systematically examine the holistic effects of CR on pediatric DCM.

We will collect a variety of data including QOL and mental health scores, structural and functional assessments of cardiovascular health, biomarkers, and health outcomes. Through this pilot study, research questions will be generated that will inform a larger, controlled clinical trial of cardiac rehabilitation in pediatric DCM. Our long term goal is to establish the Heart Institute as leader in pediatric CR research and improve the care of young people with heart disease.