Testosterone may benefit seniors with chronic HF


Giving testosterone supplements during an exercise rehabilitation program was beneficial for elderly men with chronic HF and low testosterone status, according to research published in the American Heart Journal. 

“To date, the efficacy of exercise therapy for evoking improvements in key health outcomes in elderly male patients with chronic HF who have a low testosterone status has not been studied. Neither is it known whether the effects of exercise can be augmented by testosterone supplementation in this patient population,” researchers wrote.

The double blind, randomized, controlled, feasibility study monitored 41 men (mean age, 67 years) with chronic HF and mean testosterone levels of 309 ng/dL. During a 12-week exercise rehabilitation program, the men were randomly assigned testosterone supplementation or placebo.

Rehabilitation activities included shuttle walk test, peak oxygen uptake and skeletal muscle oxygenization, peak quadriceps torque and grips strength, echocardiographic measures, N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide, inflammatory markers, depression and health-related quality of life.

The exercise plus testosterone group experienced improvements from baseline in peak oxygen uptake (P<.01), Beck Depression Inventory (P<.05), leg strength (P<.05) and several Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form quality of life domains (P<.05). These improvements were generally not observed in the exercise plus placebo group, according to the abstract. Similar improvements in shuttle walk test (18% vs. 19%), body mass (–1.3 kg vs. –1 kg) and hand grip strength (2.1 kg vs. 2.5 kg) from baseline to 12 weeks were recorded in both groups.

Attrition in this study was high, at 30%, but the researchers noted that compliance to the exercise program and testosterone or placebo supplementation was 100% in the completers.

“Although these positive preliminary results provide a solid foundation for future larger-scale studies, multicenter trials may be needed to overcome the challenges of recruitment and attrition observed in this study,” the researchers wrote.