Background: Patients with a Fontan circulation have a reduced exercise capacity, which is an important prognostic predictor of morbidity and mortality. A way to increase exercise capacity in Fontan patients might be exercise training. This systematic review assesses the effects of exercise training investigated in Fontan patients in order to provide an overview of current insights. Design and methods: Studies evaluating an exercise training intervention in Fontan patients published up to February 2020 were included in this systematic review. Results: From 3000 potential studies, 16 studies reported in 22 publications met the inclusion criteria. In total, 264 Fontan patients with mean age range 8.7–31 years, were included. Different training types including inspiratory muscle training, resistance training and aerobic training were investigated. Main outcome measures reported were peak oxygen uptake, cardiac function, lung function, physical activity levels and quality of life. Peak oxygen uptake increased significantly in 56% of the studies after training with an overall mean increase of +1.72 ml/kg/min (+6.3%). None of the studies reported negative outcome measures related to the exercise programme. In four studies an adverse event was reported, most likely unrelated to the training intervention. Conclusions: Exercise training in Fontan patients is most likely safe and has positive effects on exercise capacity, cardiac function and quality of life. Therefore exercise training in Fontan patients should be encouraged. Further studies are required to assess the optimal training type, intensity, duration and long-term effects.

exercise, Fontan procedure, heart defects congenital, physical endurance, quality of life,
European Journal of Preventive Cardiology

Scheffers, L.E. (Linda E), Berg, L.E.M.V. (Linda EM vd), Ismailova, G. (Gamida), Dulfer, K, Takkenberg, J.J.M, & Helbing, W.A. (2020). Physical exercise training in patients with a Fontan circulation: A systematic review. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. doi:10.1177/2047487320942869