Background Exercise can improve physical fitness in children and adults with congenital heart disease. We hypothesized that exercise training would not lead to adverse cardiac remodelling in this population. Methods and results This multi-centre randomized controlled trial included children and young adults (10 to 25 years) with either corrected tetralogy of Fallot or Fontan circulation. The exercise-group was enrolled in a 12 week standardized aerobic dynamic exercise training program. The control-group continued their life-style and received care as usual. Both groups underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), echocardiography and neurohormonal assessment, within 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after the intervention period. Fifty-six patients were randomized to the exercise-group and 37 to the control-group. We assessed changes between the pre- and the post-intervention period for the exercise group compared to the changes in the control-group. Peak load increased significantly in the exercise-group compared to the control-group (exercise-group 6.9 ± 11.8 W; control-group 0.8 ± 13.9 W; p = 0.047). There were no adverse events linked to the study. Ventricular systolic parameters, cardiac dimensions and neurohormonal markers during follow-up did not change in patients allocated to the exercise-group and control-group. Although there were some isolated minor changes in inflow parameters, there was no consistent pattern of changes, indicating a lack of true change in the diastolic function. Conclusion We demonstrated that no clinically relevant adverse cardiac remodelling occurred after 12 weeks of exercise training in patients with either corrected tetralogy of Fallot or Fontan circulation. Clinical trial registration:, identification NTR2731.

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Keywords Cardiac remodeling, Echocardiography, Exercise, Fontan circulation, Magnetic resonance imaging, Tetralogy of Fallot
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Journal International Journal of Cardiology
Duppen, N, Kapusta, L, de Rijke, Y.B, Snoeren, M.M, Kuipers, I.M, Koopman, L.P, … Helbing, W.A. (2015). The effect of exercise training on cardiac remodelling in children and young adults with corrected tetralogy of Fallot or Fontan circulation: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Cardiology, 179, 97–104. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.10.031