Heart Failure Exercise And Resistance Training Camp (HEART Camp)

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University of Nebraska




Heart Failure


Behavioral: Attention Control Group
Behavioral: Heart Camp Group

Study type


Funder types



1R15NR009215-01 (U.S. NIH Grant/Contract)

Details and patient eligibility


The purpose of this feasibility study was to obtain pilot data, as the basis for a future, larger investigation, testing the impact of an innovative training camp intervention called HEART CAMP (Heart failure Exercise And Resistance Training CAMP) to teach HF patients how to exercise and self-manage exercise behavior over time. The study assessed the feasibility and adequacy of the intervention, the data collection plan, and the reliability and sensitivity of the outcome measures. The 6-month intervention was based on a training camp model to teach HF patients how to exercise in a fun, group-oriented atmosphere. Subjects interacted and exercised in small groups with an exercise physiologist and nurse to guide activities. The dosage of the intervention (frequency and amount of direct guidance from the exercise physiologist and nurse) decreased over the 6 months in order to increase subject's independence and promote long-term adherence to exercise. The intervention incorporated use of computerized data files to monitor exercise behavior, compare exercise performance to individualized goals and provide feedback as strategies to foster adherence and self-management of exercise behavior.

Full description

This study uses an experimental repeated measures design with randomized comparison of the HEART CAMP intervention group and the attention control group. The purpose of this feasibility study is to obtain pilot data, as the basis for a future, larger investigation, testing the impact of an innovative 24-week (6-month) training camp intervention (HEART CAMP). HEART CAMP is designed to teach heart failure (HF) patients how to exercise (aerobic and resistance) and self-manage exercise behavior over time. Patients receiving care at the BryanLGH Heart Institute heart failure clinic will be eligible for the study.

The HEART CAMP intervention is a multi-component intervention derived from Bandura's cognitive behavioral theory and consists of specific strategies to build self-efficacy for exercise. The subject, under the guidance of an exercise physiologist and nurse, will be taught how to exercise (aerobic and resistance). A baseline cardiopulmonary exercise test will be completed on all subjects. The first three weeks of HEART CAMP will be held in a hospital based cardiac rehabilitation department where subjects will be electrocardiographically monitored during the five-day per week training sessions. Training sessions will be delivered in cohort groups of eight subjects and will focus on exercise, self-evaluation of response to exercise, and group debriefing sessions for problem solving and relapse management. Weeks 4 through 12 subjects will complete three aerobic exercise sessions in the cardiac rehabilitation maintenance facility and two resistive training sessions at home with the exercise physiologist and nurse monitoring subject response and delivering group debriefing sessions each week. Weeks 12 through 24 subjects exercise independently with the exercise physiologist and nurse monitoring subject exercise data and available as needed.

The attention control group will receive weekly cohort group education sessions during the first 3 months similar to the intervention groups' participation in weekly group sessions. One week an educational topic will be presented and the subsequent week the cohort group of eight subjects will discuss the topic. Six topics will be presented including: Eating Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains; Shopping Wisely; Cooking Healthy; Time Management; Communicating Assertively; and Learning to Relax.

Outcome measures will be completed at baseline, 3 weeks, 3 and 6 months (end of study) for both groups. Primary outcomes are estimated energy expenditure, self-efficacy to exercise, and adherence to exercise. Secondary outcomes are symptoms, biomarker (BNP), physical and psychological functioning and quality of life


42 patients




19 to 99 years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • 19 years of age or greater
  • Oriented to person, place, time
  • Able to speak and read English
  • Resting left ventricular ejection fraction of 40% of less
  • Optimum stable medical therapy for past 30 days

Exclusion criteria

  • Clinical evidence of decompensated HF
  • Unstable angina pectoris
  • Myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass surgery or biventricular pacemaker less than 3 months ago
  • Orthopedic or neuromuscular disorders preventing participation in exercise and strength/resistance training
  • Participation in 3 times per week aerobic exercise during the past 12 months.

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Single Blind

42 participants in 2 patient groups

Heart Camp Group
Experimental group
In Week 1, 2, and 3 subjects will attend the HEART CAMP. Subjects will set specific exercise goals. Subjects will be taught how to record exercise data on the computer at the exercise facility. Specific activities will teach subjects aerobic and resistance training exercises and build self-efficacy to exercise. During the period from month 3 to the end of study subjects will continue the training program independently and no formal sessions will be scheduled.
Behavioral: Heart Camp Group
Attention Control Group
Experimental group
Subjects will receive a 60 minute group session led by a specifically designated control group intervention nurse. Phone calls will be placed to the subject if they miss a Friday group session and attendance to meetings will be encouraged.
Behavioral: Attention Control Group

Trial contacts and locations



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