Benefit of outpatient cardiac rehabilitation in under-represented patient subgroups
Raban V. Jeger, Lucas Jörg, Peter Rickenbacher, Matthias E. Pfisterer and Andreas Hoffmann
Objective: To assess the effect of outpatient cardiac rehabilitation in important patient subgroups.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Subjects: Consecutive patients from March 1999 until July 2003.
Methods: This study assessed the results of symptom-limited bicycle stress testing and health-related quality of life (Profil der Lebensqualität Chronisch Kranker) at baseline and after a 3-month rehabilitation program, and complications and drop-outs during outpatient cardiac rehabilitation.
Results: Of 1061 patients, 155 (15%) women, 87 (8%) men aged ≥ 75 years, 162 (15%) had diabetes mellitus and 88 (8%) did not speak the local language. Reasons for outpatient cardiac rehabilitation included acute coronary artery disease (87%), valvular heart disease (9%) and congestive heart failure (1%). Mean age was 62 years (standard deviation 11). Patients increased both their age- and body-weight-adjusted workload (p < 0.0001) and quality of life (p < 0.0001) during the program. Although the initial workload achieved was lower than for normal patients (p < 0.0001), it increased in all subgroups during outpatient cardiac rehabilitation (p < 0.0001). Baseline quality of life was lower in women, but increased in most dimensions for all subgroups assessed.
Conclusion: Important subgroups, such as women, elderly men, diabetic patients and ethnic minorities, are under-represented in outpatient cardiac rehabilitation, although they benefit similarly to other patients. Due to lower baseline quality of life, women may need special medical attention prior to outpatient cardiac rehabilitation.
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