The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing vol:28 issue:1 pages:66-73
BACKGROUND: Patients with aortic coarctation (COA) have a reduced exercise capacity and seem to be more prone to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. During clinical practice, we often observe that patients seem to be overweight. However, data on physical activity and weight status in this population are currently not available. OBJECTIVE:: This study aimed to describe weight status, self-reported physical activity levels, and self-perceived health status in adults with repaired COA in comparison with healthy counterparts and to investigate the relationships among exercise capacity, physical activity, weight status, and perceived health status. METHODS: We studied 103 COA patients who underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing and who completed the Flemish Physical Activity Computerized Questionnaire and the short-form 36 health survey questionnaire. RESULTS: Patients with COA show a significantly lower exercise tolerance than what would be expected in healthy persons (P < .0001). Weight status was similar to the overall Belgian population, but a tendency towards higher body mass index was present. Patients with COA report a lower level of habitual physical activity (P < .05) as well as reductions in perceived vitality, general health, and mental health (P < .05). Parameters of habitual physical activity are related to exercise capacity (total energy expenditure: r = 0.278, P = .0015). The more active COA patients report higher scores of perceived physical functioning, general health, and mental health. Overweight patients did not perform significantly different than patients with a healthy weight did. CONCLUSIONS: Adults with repaired COA have a reduced exercise tolerance, which is related to low physical activity levels. Up to one-third of the COA patients we studied are overweight. As a poor exercise capacity identifies patients at risk for hospitalization and death and obesity might adversely influence the development of cardiovascular disease, it is important to improve the exercise capacity in these patients. Guiding patients toward more physical activity in daily life might therefore be the number 1 preventive measure to be taken in this patient group.