Personalized workouts can help prevent heart disease

Personalized medicine can improve a patient's condition—and now a recent study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, showed how workouts designed for individuals can prevent heart disease.

The European Association of Preventive Cardiology Exercise Prescription in Everyday Practice and Rehabilitative Training (EXPERT) tool aims to prevent heart disease by taking into account a patient’s unique cardiovascular risks. Developed by an international team of cardiovascular rehab specialists and computer scientists, EXPERT gives each patient specific goals to reduce risks with personalized plans.

"Exercise reduces cardiovascular risk, improves body composition and physical fitness, and lowers mortality and morbidity," said lead author Dominique Hansen, associate professor in exercise physiology and rehabilitation of internal diseases at Hasselt University in Diepenbeek, Belgium. "But surveys have shown that many clinicians experience great difficulties in prescribing specific exercise programs for patients with multiple cardiovascular diseases and risk factors."

Beginning with a consultation with a clinician, the EXPERT program collects data on a patient’s characteristics, risk factors, diseases, chronic conditions, medications and physical fitness to automatically design a personalize exercise program. The program also outlines safety precautions regarding a patient’s previous conditions and can be printed out and reviewed by clinicians to measure progress in the future.

"EXPERT generates an exercise prescription and safety precautions since certain patients are not allowed to do certain exercises. For example, a diabetic patient with retinopathy should not do high-intensity exercise,” said Hansen. "This tool is the first of its kind. It integrates all the international recommendations on exercise to calculate the optimum training program for an individual patient. It really is personalized medicine."