Purpose: Many adults with congenital heart disease have reduced exercise capacity but only little is known about habitual physical activity in this group. The aim of this study was to investigate habitual physical activity level in a cohort of adults with congenital heart disease.
Methods: Seventy-five adult patients (29 females) aged 37.2±15.1 years with congenital heart disease classed as either simple or complex were studied with a combined accelerometer and heart rate monitor (Actiheart). The patients carried the Actiheart during 5 consecutive days, and where encouraged to proceed with their usual daily activities. Data was analysed with the Actiheart Software version 2.2. A mean of Physical Activity Level (PAL) (PAL=Total Energy Expenditure/Resting Energy Expenditure) over 4 days was calculated. PAL < 1.45 was categorised as low, 1.45-1.6 as moderate and >1.6 as high.
Results: Forty-three patients (57,3%) had low PAL, 18 (24%) moderate PAL and 14 (16,7%) high PAL. PAL was lower in women compared to men (1.32±0.10 vs. 1.52±0.18, p < 0.001). PAL was higher in patients with simple compared with complex congenital heart disease (1.50±0.21 vs. 1.39±0.14, p = 0.019). Among men, active smoking (p=0.015) and lower age (p=0.04) were independently associated with higher PAL, whereas no such associations were observed among women.
Conclusion: The majority of the observed patients had low PAL and women had lower PAL compared to men. PAL was related to complexity of heart lesion. Efforts to increase habitual physical activity may be indicated in this population, especially in women and patients with complex congenital heart disease.