Whole-Body Vibration Therapy in Patients with Pulmonary Hypertension and Right Heart Failure: Lessons from a Pilot Study

  • Felix GerhardtEmail author
  • Stephan Rosenkranz


In patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in addition to targeted medication, supportive training programs may be beneficial. In this pilot study, we evaluated the feasibility, effectiveness, and safety of oscillatory whole-body vibration (WBV) in patients on stable targeted therapy. We randomized 22 patients with PAH (PAP ≥ 25 mmHg and pulmonary arterial wedge pressure (PAWP) ≤ 15 mmHg) in WHO functional class II or III to receive training (16 sessions of 1 h within 4 weeks) or to a control group that subsequently received WBV. Follow-up measures included 6-minute walking, cardiopulmonary exercise test, echocardiography, N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide (NTproBNP), and functional analytic parameters (“chair-rising” and “two-leg jump” test) as well as health-related quality of life (HRQoL; SF-36, LH-PH questionnaires). Patients who underwent WBV showed a significant improvement of 39.7 ± 7.8 m in 6-min walking distance (6MWD) (p < 0.05; WBV +35.4 ± 10.9 m, control group −4.4 ± 7.6 m). Taken together, all patients (n = 22) showed significant net improvements versus baseline in the 6MWD (+38.6 m), peakVO2 (+65.7 mL/min), anaerobic threshold (+40.9 mL VO2/min), muscle power (+4.4%), and HRQoL (SF-36 + 9.7, LPH −11.5 points) (all p < 0.05). WBV was well tolerated in all patients. With this concept of “passive” training, WBV can improve exercise capacity and quality of life even in physically very limited patients substantially.


Pulmonary hypertension Right heart failure Training Whole-body vibration 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Klinik III für Innere Medizin (Kardiologie, Pneumologie und Internistische Intensivmedizin)Herzzentrum der Universität zu KölnKölnGermany

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