Safe and effective exercise training for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension

putting current evidence into clinical practice

Melanie Lavender*, Karen S. W. Chia, Nathan Dwyer, Tamera J. Corte, Lissa Spencer, Vivek Thakkar, Tanya McWilliams, Eugene Kotlyar, Helen Whitford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: While there have been significant advances in the medical treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), life expectancy, and quality of life remain reduced in this disease. Strenuous exercise may be hazardous for PAH patients; however, several relatively small trials have confirmed that exercise training programs can be used safely and effectively as adjunctive treatment for selected patients. The use of exercise training is now recommended in consensus international PAH treatment algorithms; however, there is no published guideline detailing how this intervention should be carried out. Areas covered: This review describes the evidence available and evaluates its applicability to ‘real life’ clinical practice. The limitations of current evidence are acknowledged, and we discuss how the existing data can be applied to management of PAH patients in Australia, New Zealand, and countries with similar healthcare systems. Recommendations for PAH exercise training are proposed including patient selection, program structure and duration, training modalities, training intensity, supervision, monitoring, safety precautions, and outcome assessments. Expert commentary: It is recognized that knowledge gaps remain and further research is required into physiological mechanisms associated with improved exercise capacity, optimal outpatient exercise regimen, durability of benefit, and whether there is any disease-modifying effect or impact on long-term prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-977
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Review of Respiratory Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018


  • exercise program
  • Exercise training
  • pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • rehabilitation

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