Effect of high-intensity interval training in physiotherapy primary care for patients with inflammatory arthritis: the ExeHeart randomised controlled trial

Review written by Todd Hargrove info

Key Points

  1. High intensity exercise delivered in physiotherapy to patients with inflammatory arthritis improved cardiorespiratory fitness without adverse effects.
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Patients with inflammatory arthritis (IA) have an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is partly driven by the effects of systemic inflammation on the vasculature. Physical activity is of major influence to cardiorespiratory fitness, a renowned and clinically important measure of how well the body delivers oxygen to working muscles. Cardiorespiratory fitness is an independent and modifiable risk factor of CVD, and modest increases in cardiorespiratory fitness associate with increased longevity and lower risk of cardiovascular events.

This randomized controlled trial sought to determine the effect of high-intensity interval training on cardiorespiratory fitness and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease in patients with IA.

Patients with inflammatory arthritis have an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.
Clinicians can recommend this approach to patients with inflammatory arthritis who are looking to improve their cardiovascular fitness.


  • 60 patients with IA were randomly assigned to an exercise group or control group. The control group received usual care, and the exercise group received usual care plus three sessions of exercise per week for three months.
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