Background: Many adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) have reduced aerobic exercise capacity and impaired muscle function. However, it is largely unknown which factors have influence on the confidence to perform exercise training, i.e. Exercise Self-Efficacy (ESE).
Aims: To identify factors related to low ESE, and thus identify potential targets for rehabilitation and thereby enhance the potential for being physically active.
Methods: Seventy-nine adults with CHD; simple lesions n=38 (women n=16), complex lesions n=41 (women n=17) (mean age 36.7±14.6 years) and 42 age and sex matched controls were recruited. All participants completed questionnaires on ESE, quality of life (EQ-5D), and physical activity (international physical activity questionnaire, IPAQ), and performed muscle endurance tests.
Results: ESE was categorised into low (<26 points, n=24) and high (≥26 points, n=55). Patients with low ESE were older (45.2±15.4 vs. 32.6±12.5 years, p=0.002), more often had prescribed medication (67% vs. 44%, p=0.06), higher New York Heart Association functional class (NYHA) (≥ III) (25% vs. 7%, p=0.03) and performed fewer shoulder flexions (30.9±16.1 vs. 45.9±23.9, p=0.01) compared with those with high ESE. In the high ESE group, ESE did not differ from controls (33.8±3.9 vs. 33.4±6.1, p=0.74). In linear multivariate analysis age (B;-0.18, 95% CI -0.28- -0.08), smoking (B;-3.73, 95% CI -7.17- -0.28), EQ-5Dindex <1 (B;-3.33, 95% CI -6.08- -0.57) and number of shoulder flexions (B; 0.09, 95% CI 0.03–0.16) were independently associated with ESE.
Conclusion: Many adults with CHD have low ESE. Rehabilitation targeting quality of life, smoking cessation and muscle training may improve ESE, and thus enhance the potential for being physically active in this population.