Does the timing of cardiac rehabilitation impact fitness outcomes? An observational analysis

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OBJECTIVES: To ascertain the characteristics associated with delayed cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and determine if an association between CR timing and fitness outcomes exists in patients receiving routine care.

METHODS: The study used data from the UK National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation, a data set which captures information on routine CR practice and patient outcomes. Data from 1 January 2012 to 8 September 2015 were included. Logistic regression models were used to explore the relationship between timing of CR and fitness-related outcomes as measured by patient-reported exercise level (150 min/week: yes/no), Dartmouth quality of life physical fitness scale and the incremental shuttle-walk test.

RESULTS: Based on UK data current CR practice shows that programmes do not always adhere to recommendations on the start of prompt CR, that is, start CR within 28 days of referral (42 days for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)). Wait time exceeded recommendations in postmyocardial infarction (post-MI), elective percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), MI-PCI and post-CABG surgery patients. This was particularly pronounced in the medically managed post-MI group, median wait time 40 days. Furthermore, statistical analysis revealed that delayed CR significantly impacts fitness outcomes. For every 1-day increase in CR wait time, patients were 1% less likely to improve across all fitness-related measures (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: With the potential for suboptimal patient outcome if starting CR is delayed, efforts should be made to identify and overcome barriers to timely CR provision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e000369
JournalOpen Heart
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2016

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