The major objective of this PhD project is to study the role of physical activity in regards to HF prognosis and to evaluate the influence of physical exercise on cardiac function. The multidisciplinary design of the study combing physical activity questionnaires with non-invasive measurements of heart-, brain- and hemodynamic-functions will give us the unique opportunity to give answers on how physical activity affect the cardiac function.
Another central aspect of this study approach is to explore how physical activity reflects changes in the coupling between the heart and the vasculature, e.g. ventricular arterial coupling (VAC). Since cardiovascular risk factors can affect the heart due to pressure- and volume overload with subsequent left ventricular remodeling, but also central elastic arteries resulting in an early and unsuccessful arterial aging, VAC has been suggested as a promising novel biomarker for the assessment of future cardiovascular risk and HF. Since physical exercise has showed to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia etc., we believe that the positive effects of physical exercise might be reflected by VAC improvement.
Also, as physical exercise has showed to improve blood flow to the brain which is often reduced in HF patients, physical activity might have the opportunity to increase the cerebral oxygenation in HF patients. In this aspect, the intention of this project is to further investigate whether physical activity might contribute to the understanding why some individuals with HF are more susceptible to develop cognitive impairment.