Exercise-based training programs for patients with chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Pablo M. Calderon-Ramirez, Daniel Fernandez-Guzman, Brenda Caira-Chuquineyra, Carlos S. Mamani-García, Héctor M. Medina, Carlos Diaz-Arocutipa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: We assessed the effects of exercise-based training programs (EBTP) in patients with chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy (CCC) through a systematic review and meta-analysis. Methods: We conducted a search in Pubmed/Medline, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Virtual Health Library, and SciELO until January 2023. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomized intervention studies (NRIS) investigating the effects of EBTP in CCC patients were included. The primary outcomes were all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and the secondary outcomes were exercise capacity by peak VO2, heart failure-related hospital admissions (HFRHA), and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Results: The search strategy yielded 3617 studies. After removing duplicates and screening, eight studies (3 RCTs and 5 NRIS) involving 222 patients were included. Seven studies were conducted in Brazil. The age range was from 30 to 71 years, and 47.1% were male. Data on mortality, HRQoL, LVEF, and HFRHA were scarcely reported. The meta-analysis pooling four studies showed that the peak VO2 was significantly higher (mean difference 4.45, 95% confidence interval 3.50 to 5.39 mL/kg/min, I2 = 0%) in the EBTP group compared to the control group. Conclusion: The evidence available was limited and heterogeneous. While EBTP has shown to improve HRQoL and exercise capacity, there is no conclusive information about the other proposed outcomes. These positive effects present an opportunity to provide treatment to CCC patients in low- and middle-income countries. Further studies are needed to ascertain the effects of EBTP on hard outcomes in this population. Registration number: CRD42022334060.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101256
Pages (from-to)101256
JournalIJC Heart and Vasculature
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Chagas Cardiomyopathy
  • Exercise Training
  • Systematic review


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