Cardiac Rehab: The Earlier the Better

There is mounting evidence that cardiac rehab reduces the risk of death or recurrent cardiac events in those who participate. However, most individuals who qualify never take advantage of the service. The big question is how to increase attendance in cardiac rehab programs. A recent study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation indicates that catching people early is important. The study followed 148 patients with non-surgical events that qualify for cardiac rehabilitation. Subjects were randomized to begin cardiac rehabilitation either within 10 days of hospital discharge or after 35 days. The study showed that those who were scheduled within 10 days were 56% more likely to attend than those scheduled after 35 days. While there may be a number of explanations for this finding, the message is clear. Get patients in as soon after discharge as possible. If you or a loved one has had a qualifying cardiac event, make sure to ask your doctor for a referral for cardiac rehab ASAP.

Events that qualify of cardiac rehab include: heart attack, bypass surgery, angioplasty, valve replacement, and heart transplant.

Reference: Pack, Q.R., et al. An Early Appointment to Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation at Hospital Discharge Improves Attendance at Orientation: A Randomized, Single-blind, Controlled Trial. Circulation. 2012; published online before print December 18 2012, doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.121996

2012 In Revue

NY Times fitness writer Gretchen Reynolds reviews the exercise and health research she wrote about during 2012. With links to all those research articles, this is a good summary of the interesting news regarding exercise and health from last year.

Click here to read the NY times article.