Cardiol Rev. 2016 Aug 18;
Moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) has long been considered the most effective exercise treatment modality for the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease, but more recently high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been viewed as a potential alternative to MICT in accruing such benefits. HIIT was initially found to induce significant improvements in numerous physiological and health-related indices, to a similar if not superior extent to MICT. Since then, many studies have attempted to explore the potential clinical utility of HIIT, relative to MICT, with respect to treating numerous cardiovascular conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and hypertension. Despite this, however, the efficacy of HIIT in reversing the specific symptoms and risk factors of these cardiovascular pathologies is not well understood. HIIT is often perceived as very strenuous, which could render it unsafe for those at risk of or afflicted with cardiovascular disease, but these issues are also yet to be reviewed. Furthermore, the optimal HIIT protocol for each of the cardiovascular disease cohorts has not been established. Thus, the purpose of this review article is to (i) evaluate the efficacy of HIIT relative to MICT in the prevention and management of cardiovascular conditions, and (ii) explore any potential safety issues surrounding the suitability and/or tolerability of HIIT for patients with cardiovascular disease, as well as the potential optimal prescriptive variables of HIIT for application in the clinical environment.