December 15, 2017
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Cardiac rehabilitation improves physical fitness, quality of life in CAD

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Patients with symptomatic CAD who completed an outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program had improved peak oxygen uptake and quality of life, according to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Birgitta Blakstad Nilsson, PhD, senior researcher in the department of medicine at University of Oslo in Norway, and colleagues analyzed data from 133 patients who underwent revascularization for symptomatic CAD. Patients were referred to and completed a 12-week outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program from January 2011 to February 2015. Those who were excluded had conditions such as chronic HF, symptomatic peripheral artery disease and severe arrhythmias.

Patients were assessed when they entered the program, completed cardiac rehabilitation and at 15 months. Data that included BMI, weight, self-reported smoking, exercise habits and resting BP were reviewed. Patients also completed cardiopulmonary exercise stress tests and a COOP-WONCA health-related quality-of-life questionnaire.

Sixty-five percent of patients (mean age, 57 years; 87% men) completed all three follow-up assessments.

Peak oxygen intake improved from baseline (31.9 mL/kg/min) to completion of cardiac rehabilitation (35.9 mL/kg/min; P < .001). Further improvement was seen at 15 months (36.8 mL/kg/min; P < .05).

Quality of life increased in all domains (P < .001), especially regarding physical fitness, from baseline to 15 months.

Patients reported exercising 2.5 times per week from completion of cardiac rehabilitation to 15 months.

“We ... believe that inclusion of different modes of high-intensity interval training during [cardiac rehabilitation] and individual instruction on the use of [heart rate] monitors could have motivated the patients to maintain their new exercise habits,” Nilsson and colleagues wrote. “To offer exercise classes outdoor and concomitantly stimulate for active commuting seems to be important for a lot of patients in our CR program.” – by Darlene Dobkowski

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.