† These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editor: Kazuhiro P. Izawa
Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) improves the clinical outcomes in patients with cardiovascular diseases. However, few data exist regarding the role of early short-term CR in patients undergoing pacemaker (PM) implantation. We assessed whether short-term CR following PM implantation was sufficient to improve both physical function and quality of life (QOL). A total of 27 patients with a 6-minute walking distance (6MWD) of less than 85% of the predicted value on the day following PM implantation were randomly assigned to either the CR group (n = 12, 44.4%) or the non-CR group (n = 15, 55.6%). The CR group involved individualized exercise-based training with moderate intensity for 4 weeks after PM implantation. Cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET), 6MWD, muscle strength, and Short Form (SF)-36 were assessed at baseline and at the 4-week follow-up. After a mean follow-up period of 38.3 days, both groups showed significantly improved 6MWD. Peak oxygen uptake improved in both groups on CPET, but the difference was not statistically significant. Knee extension power and handgrip strength were similar in both groups. Regarding QOL, only the CR group showed improved SF-36 scores in the items of vitality and mental health. There was no difference in any subscale in the non-CR group. Neither lead dislodgement nor significant changes in PM parameters were observed in any patient. Early short-term CR following PM implantation was associated with improved psychological subscales and can be safely performed without increasing the risk of procedure-related complications.