Few older heart patients complete cardiac rehab

A recent study led by DCRI Fellow Jacob Doll found that approximately two-thirds of the patients who were referred to rehabilitation did not attend an initial session.
Cardiac rehabilitation programmes include a mixture of exercise regimens, health education, and cardiovascular risk reduction and medication adherence support. These programmes, which typically comprise 2 to 3 weekly sessions for a total of 36 sessions, are associated with improvements in lifestyle, functional capacity, and quality of life for older adults. Despite this, rates of referral and adherence have traditionally been low, particularly in older adults.
In this study, Doll and his colleagues used data from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry Acute Coronary Treatment Intervention Outcomes Network Registry and Medicare claims to identify 58,269 patients 65 years or older who had a heart attack between 2007 and 2010. Of these patients, 36,376 (62.4 percent) were referred to cardiac rehabilitation. Only 11,862 patients (32.6 percent) attended at least one rehab session during the year following hospital discharge. Of those who had not been referred, 1,795 (8.2 percent) attended at least one session.
Only about 5 percent of the patients completed all 36 sessions, even though the sessions are usually covered by insurance.
These findings, the study