Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2004) 03, 23 - 27

Young Investigator Special Issue 1: Research article
Perceived Exertion As an Exercise Intensity Indicator in Chronic Heart Failure Patients on Beta-Blockers
Itamar Levinger1, , Roger Bronks1, David V. Cody2, Ian Linton2, Allan Davie1
Author Information
1 Southern Cross University, Lismore NSW 2480, Australia
2 John Flynn Private Hospital-Gold Coast, TUGUN QLD 4224, Australia

Itamar Levinger
✉ Southern Cross University. PO Box 157 Lismore NSW 2480 Australia
Publish Date
Received: 05-05-2004
Accepted: 06-08-2004
Published (online): 01-11-2004
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The Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) has been used as a supplementary tool for prescription of exercise training intensity for healthy and special populations. Despite the wide use of the RPE scale, there is an inconsistency regarding the accuracy of that scale for chronic heart failure (CHF) patients treated with beta-blockers. The study examined the correlation between RPE and heart rate (HR), percentage of maximal HR (%MHR), ventilation (VE) and oxygen consumption (VO2) during graded treadmill testing and examined the RPE scale as a guideline for training intensity for CHF patients treated with beta-blockers. Fourteen men age 57.7 ± 10.2 yrs diagnosed with CHF and treated with beta-blockers participated in the study. During a Balke treadmill test the subjects RPE, HR, VE and VO2 ml·kg-1·min-1 were monitored. Low to moderate significant correlations were found between RPE and HR, %MHR, VE and VO2 ml·kg-1·min-1 (r = 0.44, 0.43, 0.55 and 0.69 respectively, all p < 0.001). Some subjects exhibited clinical symptoms (e.g. fall of systolic blood pressure, ST depression/elevation) despite relatively low RPE. The RPE may be used to indicate the level of exercise intensity; however it may not represent the HR responses in CHF patients on beta-blocker medication. Therefore, it is recommended to monitor the HR in combination with RPE when prescribing exercise intensity for CHF patients on beta blocker medication.

Key words: Chronic heart failure, rating of perceived exertion, beta-blockers

           Key Points
  • RPE correlated with HR, VE and VO in CHF patients on beta blockers.
  • There was a large RPE inter-individual variability during graded treadmill tests.
  • RPE can be used as an exercise intensity indicator for patients on beta-blockers, however, it must be taken with caution.
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