Long-term results of a three-week intensive cardiac out-patient rehabilitation program in motivated patients with low social status
The short-term benefits of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) are well established. In contrast, well-documented long-term results are rare. The objective of this longitudinal multi-centre observational study was to examine the effects of intensive out-patient CR in a larger patient cohort, especially for patients with low social status. We present the final results 24 months after CR.
The study group of 327 patients (288 men, 39 women, aged 56.0±10.8 years, coronary artery disease in 295, other cardiac diseases in 32) participated in a 3- week CR programme followed by clinical re-evaluations 6 (III), 12 (IV) an 24 (V) months later.
The improvement in mean maximal performance of 100.5±31.4 to 123.1±36.2 W (p<0.01) achieved during CR was further improved to 128.7±40.9 W (p < 0,01) after 24 months. Of the patients, 61.2% reported regular physical activity during the 24 months of the study. The lipid management achieved by CR was maintained over 24 month. At I 65%, at II 84.4% and at V 82.4% of the patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) were undergoing lipid lowering therapy. BMI increased from 26.8±3.0 to 27.6±3.6 kg/m2 (p < 0.01) during follow-up. Of the patients, 23.2% were active smokers at V. Cardiovascular diagnosis remained unaltered in 74.3% of patients. The obtained results are interesting with respect to the social status of the patients since 68% were general laborers. The results confirm the long-term effectiveness of an intensive 3-week out-patient CR programme. Most of the benefits achieved by CR appear to be sustainable in this population for at least 2 years.