Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Exercise Training as Medicine for Cardiopulmonary Conditions

April 18th 2016 the Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Exercise Training as Medicine was officially opened at St. Olav’s Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital in Norway.

 

The national advisory unit concerns the dissemination of knowledge about exercise training as treatment for people with coronary heart disease, peripheral artery disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The service is involved in education, research and promotion of exercise training as medicine for those cardiopulmonary conditions.


The service is a collaboration between Clinic of Clinical Services, Clinic of Cardiology, Clinic of Surgery, Clinic of Thoracic and Occupational Medicine, Clinic of Cardiothoracic Surgery at St. Olav’s Hospital, and the Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging (ISB) and Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).


Despite the documented benefits of exercise training, exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation is underused as a therapy. Attendance rates in Europe are less than 30%. Regarding pulmonary rehabilitation, up to half (8-50%) of individuals with COPD who are referred to rehabilitation never attend, whilst others do not complete the program due to difficulties with transport or lack of perceived benefit. However, more information is needed regarding factors that influence patients’ decisions not to attend at all. Furthermore, it is shown that supervised exercise therapy provides statistically significant benefits for treadmill walking distance when compared with non-supervised regimens in patients with intermittent claudication. However, the availability of supervised exercise therapy in clinical practice is far from optimal.


In response, increasing knowledge among health professionals (i.e. physicians, physiotherapists, nurses) about exercise training as treatment and contribute in the development of treatment programs, in both specialist- and community health services, is a major goal for the national advisory unit. Moreover, the service will inspire and guide health professionals to use evidence-based guidelines in their decision-making, and thereby improve the quality of treatment approaches nationally.


 

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