Virtual AppLication-supported ENvironment To INcrease Exercise During Cardiac Rehabilitation Study


The researchers are trying to determine whether a smartwatch and a mobile application, which together deliver activity and goal setting notifications, can increase activity levels for patients enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Other
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: October 2023

Detailed Description

The VALENTINE Cardiac Rehabilitation Study will evaluate a digital intervention to supplement cardiac rehabilitation for low- and moderate risk patients, integrating a mobile application with physiologic and contextual information from wearables to provide incremental support to patients. The study will be performed in conjunction with planned home-, hybrid-, or center-based cardiac rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine. Participants will be randomized to the control or telehealth group. Both groups will receive a smartwatch and usual care. Participants in the telehealth arm will additionally (1) have access to activity tracking and goal setting through the VALENTINE app; (2) receive micro-randomized, contextually tailored notifications, and (3) receive weekly activity summaries via email, which will also be provided to their exercise physiologist while enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation. Contextually tailored notifications will be one of two types: walking and exercise notifications. Walking notifications are designed to encourage participants to be active though at lower than their target heart rate zone. Participants will receive 1 notification per day, on average, at one of four times. Notifications will be randomized on four dimensions of context. Exercise notifications are designed to encourage participants to exercise within their target heart rate zone. Notifications will be delivered each evening at a time of the participant's choosing. Participants will have a 50% probability of receiving a notification each evening. Notifications will be randomized on two dimensions of context. Participants will be followed for 6-months. Participants in both arms will be asked to complete a 6-minute walk test at baseline, 3-months, and 6-months using their mobile phone and smartwatch. They will additionally complete general and disease-specific quality-of-life questionnaires at baseline and at 6-months.


  • Behavioral: Telehealth
    • Participants will receive weekly activity summaries and tailored notifications about their activity and goal setting behaviors.
  • Behavioral: Control
    • Participants will get usual care and wear a smartwatch.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Telehealth
    • Participants will be provided with a smartwatch, have access to activity tracking and goal setting through the VALENTINE app, receive micro-randomized, contextually tailored notifications, and receive weekly activity summaries via email, which will be provided to participants and to their exercise physiologist while enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation.
  • Active Comparator: Control
    • Participants will continue to receive usual care and a smartwatch but without access to the micro-randomized notifications or weekly activity summaries.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Change in 6-minute walk distance
    • Time Frame: Baseline, 6-months
    • 6-minute walk distance is determined by the 6-minute walk test recorded using a mobile phone paired with a smartwach and recorded in meters.

Secondary Measures

  • Change in average step count
    • Time Frame: Baseline, 6-months
    • Change in average step count as determined by smartwatch. Baseline average is the average step count from the first 7 days of wearing the smartwatch. The 6-month average step count is the daily average step count over one week at 6-months.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Must be a patient within the Michigan Medicine clinical system with data available in the electronic health record after January 1, 2013
  • Owns an Android or iPhone with study supported operating software.
  • Understands English to enable informed consent, completion of study-related surveys, and compliance with study notifications.
  • Enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation within the past 8-weeks based on one of the following indications (listed below) and has completed at least 2 cardiac rehabilitation sessions (includes orientation session):

1. Coronary artery disease (including acute coronary syndromes) following percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)

2. Coronary artery disease following coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG)]

3. Valve repair or replacement (either surgical or percutaneous)

Exclusion Criteria

  • Orthopedic or neurological condition limiting ability to actively engage in exercise training session
  • Greater than mild cognitive impairment
  • Wrist too large to wear a smartwatch comfortably. This will be assessed by asking participants "If they have ever had difficulty wearing a watch in the past due to the band being too small."
  • Currently receiving palliative care and/or in hospice care
  • Severe valvular stenosis or regurgitation
  • Unrevascularized left main coronary artery disease (> 50% obstruction on angiography) or proximal left anterior descending disease (>70% obstruction on angiography).
  • Exercise-induced ventricular tachycardia
  • Cardiac arrest within the prior 6 months
  • New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III or IV heart failure
  • Ejection fraction <40%
  • Determined to be unsafe for participation in cardiac rehabilitation as assessed by a clinical nurse.

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 75 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Michigan
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Brahmajee K Nallamothu, Professor of Internal Medicine – University of Michigan
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Brahmajee K Nallamothu, Principal Investigator, University of Michigan
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Brahmajee Nallamothu, MD, MPH, 734-647-1624,

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