Disappointingly, few heart attack survivors make use of cardiac rehabilitation programs, despite evidence the program works, a study finds.
Cardiac rehab is a program of supervised exercise, health education, and support undertaken at a designated center that is proven to improve survival in heart attack patients. Medicare and most private insurers generally cover such programs.
In a review of more than 58,000 older heart attack patients, the researchers found that only about 62 percent were referred to a cardiac rehab program.
Of those, only about one-third started the program. And only 5 percent completed it.
Duke University researchers noted that, although not enough patients are being referred to a cardiac rehab program, attendance and completion are also major concerns.
They noted that doctors may not be stressing the programs’ importance enough, or that patients might find getting to the centers inconvenient, or attending the full program too time-consuming for them to finish.
I always recommend cardiac rehabilitation to patients who might benefit, and I am happy to say that most attend and complete the program.
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