BACKGROUND: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is widely accepted as beneficial for patients with myocardial infarction (MI) and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). A need exists to evaluate how different formats of delivery can best meet CR service demands.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Cardiac patients (n = 60) were randomly assigned to either a standard 10-week (30 sessions) or a 4-week (20 sessions) multifactorial rehabilitation program. Patients underwent exercise testing using the Bruce protocol before, immediately after, and then 6 months after CR. Patients also completed the SF-36 quality of life questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale at each time point. Compared with pre-CR, exercise time and metabolic equivalents attained were significantly increased, and heart rate significantly decreased both immediately (P <.05) and 6 months after CR (P <.05) in both groups, with no between-group differences. Significant improvements (P <.05) in energy, pain, and general health were reported after CR, and in energy and emotional and social well-being at 6 months after CR. No differences were seen between the groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac rehabilitation after MI and CABG significantly improved exercise capacity and general health and well-being. No significant differences were detected between groups undergoing a 10-week or 4-week course. These preliminary data suggest that shortened courses of CR may be beneficial to cardiac patients and such courses may also facilitate more widespread use of CR.