To what extent is the variation in cardiac rehabilitation quality associated with patient characteristics?

Ahmad Salman, Patrick Doherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Huge variability in quality of service delivery of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) in the UK. This study aimed to ascertain whether the variation in quality of CR delivery is associated with participants' characteristics.

METHODS: Individual patient data from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 were collected electronically from the UK's National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation database. Quality of CR delivery is categorised as low, middle, and high based on six service-level criteria. The study included a range of patient variables: patient demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, comorbidities, physical and psychosocial health measures, and index of multiple deprivation.

RESULTS: The chance that a CR patient with more comorbidities attended a high-quality programme was 2.13 and 1.85 times higher than the chance that the same patient attended a low- or middle-quality programme, respectively. Patients who participated in high-quality CR programmes tended to be at high risk (e.g. increased waist size and high blood pressure); high BMI, low physical activity levels and high Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale scores; and were more likely to be smokers, and be in more socially deprived groups than patients in low-quality programmes.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings show that the quality of CR delivery can be improved and meet national standards by serving a more multi-morbid population which is important for patients, health providers and commissioners of healthcare. In order for low-quality programmes to meet clinical standards, CR services need to be more inclusive in respect of patients' characteristics identified in the study. Evaluation and dissemination of information about the populations served by CR programmes may help low-quality programmes to be more inclusive.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2019

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