Cardiac rehabilitation is a component of heart failure (HF) management, but its effect on ventricular arrhythmias is not well understood. We analyzed the antiarrhythmic effect of a 9-week hybrid comprehensive telerehabilitation (HCTR) program and its influence on long-term cardiovascular mortality in HF patients taken from the TELEREHabilitation in Heart Failure Patients (TELEREH-HF) trial.

Material and methods:
We evaluated the presence of non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (nsVT) and frequent premature ventricular complexes ≥ 10 beats/hour (PVCs ≥ 10) in 24-hour ECG monitoring at baseline and after 9-week HCTR or usual care (UC) of 773 HF patients (NYHA I-III, LVEF ≤ 40%). Functional response for HCTR was assessed by changes – delta () – in peak oxygen consumption (pVO2) as a result of comparing pVO2 from the beginning and the end of the program.

Among 143 patients with nsVT, arrhythmia subsided in 30.8% after HCTR. Similarly, among 165 patients randomized to UC who had nsVT 34.5% did not show it after 9 weeks (p = 0.481). There was no significant difference in the decrease in PVC ≥ 10 over 9 weeks between randomization arms (14.9% vs. 17.8%, respectively p = 0.410). Functional response for HCTR in ΔpVO2 > 2.0 ml/kg/min did not affect occurrence of arrhythmias. Multivariable analysis did not identify HCTR as an independent factor determining improvement of nsVT or PVCs ≥ 10. However, only in the HCTR group, the achievement of the antiarrhythmic effect significantly reduced the cardiovascular mortality in 2-year follow-up (p < 0.001).

Significant improvement in physical capacity after 9 weeks of HCTR did not correlate with the antiarrhythmic effect in terms of incidence of nsVT or PVCs ≥ 10. An antiarrhythmic effect after the 9-week HCTR affected long-term cardiovascular mortality in HF patients.