Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is common in heart failure (HF) patients and associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Current treatments for SDB have not been shown to improve survival and often have high non-compliance, lack of efficacy in SDB alleviation, and/or associated with pain. Passive foot movement, the rhythmic movement of feet without voluntary effort, is known to increase ventilation but has not been examined in HF patients. We hypothesize that passive foot movement will decrease SDB (decrease in Apnea-Hypopnea Index [AHI]) with little or no impact on sleep state (fewer arousals during sleep), better sleep (measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index Questionnaire) and greater preference for passive foot movement compared to continuous/biphasic positive airway pressure (CPAP/BiPAP - traditional SDB treatment methods). Using a one-group, quasi-experimental, pre- and post-test design, we will examine 26 subjects with advanced HF (left ventricular ejection fraction <0.40, dilated systolic dysfunction, not in acute HF, age 40-65 years) and SDB (AHI >5 via overnight polysomnography in the previous 6 months) who will be randomized to undergo passive foot movement either during the first or last half of the night during overnight polysomnography.
The specific aims for this study are to: 1) Examine the association between SDB (as indicated by AHI), blood oxygen desaturation, carbon dioxide blood levels and passive foot movement;2) Examine the association between passive foot movement and changes in sleep stage during an overnight sleep study (polysomnography) in HF patients with SDB;3) Determine the impact of passive foot movement on subjective reports of sleep quality in HF patients with a history of SDB. The objective is of this study is to determine the relationships between a novel treatment option, passive foot movement, and SDB in HF patients. If passive foot movement decreases SDB and is tolerable to persons with HF, this intervention could have change clinical practice and improve outcomes in this high risk patient population.

Public Health Relevance

Sleep-disordered breathing is common in heart failure and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Current treatments for sleep-disordered breathing have not demonstrated improvement in heart failure outcomes and often are associated with high non-compliance, ineffectiveness, and/or increased risk for pain. Passive foot movement is the rhythmic movement of the feet without voluntary effort, which results in increased ventilation. It is an innovative treatment option for sleep-disordered breathing which has the potential to effectively treat heart failure patients with dramatically decreased risk of adverse effects. If effective, passive foot movement could have important impact on heart failure disease progression and survival.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HDM-G (02))
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Huss, Karen
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University of California Los Angeles
Schools of Nursing
Los Angeles
United States
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