The OptimEx study

OptimEx (Optimizing Exercise Training in Prevention and Treatment of Diastolic Heart Failure) is a multicenter study focusing on exercise as medicine for diastolic heart failure. We also want to learn more about the mechanisms involved in this type of heart failure, as the knowledge is limited so far.

The study will consist of both experimental (animal) and clinical (human) parts. First and foremost, we are very curious about exercise with high intensity compared to lower intensity, and the effect the on diastolic heart failure patients.


We will include several animal studies focusing on both primary and secondary prevention. These studies are followed by a clinical study (OptimEx-CLIN) starting in 2014. 180 European diastolic heart failure patients will be randomly assigned to one of three groups:

1) Moderate continuous training (MCT).

2) High intensity interval training.

3) Control group (CG): Will be councelled, but not offered supervised exercise sessions.

The participants will exercise for 12 months, where 3 months are supervised and the 9 remaining are home-based. Exercise will be performed on bicycles. Intensity and heart rate will be tracked by heart rate monitors.

Development of e-health tools plays a key role in the study. The German telemedicine company Vitaphone will be involved, developing devices and technology for reliable monitoring of exercise.

The OptimEx study is a collaboration of five European Universities: Antwerp University Hospital, the University of Leipzig, the Technical University of Munich, the University of Graz and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The EU has funded the study, which started October 2013 and is planned finished in 2017.