Individuals with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and long QT syndrome (LQTS) are advised to avoid certain forms of exercise to reduce their risk of sudden death. Cardiovascular genetic counselors facilitate both adaptation to, and decision-making about, these exercise recommendations. This study describes decision-making and experiences of active adults who exercise above physicians' recommendations. Purposive sampling was used to select adults with HCM and LQTS who self-identified as exercising above recommendations. Semi-structured interviews explored participants' decision-making and the psychological impact of exercise recommendations. Fifteen individuals were interviewed (HCM: 10; LQTS: 5; mean age: 40). Transcripts were coded and analyzed for underlying themes. Despite exercising above recommendations, nearly all participants made some modifications to their prior exercise regimen. Often these decisions changed over time, underscoring the importance of shared decision-making conversations beyond the initial evaluation. The importance of exercise was frequently cited as a reason for continued exercise, as were perceptions of sudden death risk as low, acceptable, or modifiable. Many participants reported that family and friends supported their exercise decisions, with a minority having family or friends that expressed significant reservations. Genetic counselors, cardiologists, and nurses can use these data to inform their counseling regarding exercise recommendations.
View details for PubMedID 30220053