PURPOSE: To quantitatively investigate age differences in barriers to cardiac rehabilitation (CR) enrollment and participation.
METHODS: Cardiac outpatients (N = 1,273, mean age = 65.9 ± 11.2) completed a mailed survey to discern barriers to CR enrollment and participation. Both enrollees and nonenrollees were asked to rate 18 CR barriers on a 5-point Likert scale.
RESULTS: Of the respondents, 535 (43%) reported participating in CR at 1 of 40 sites, with younger patients being more likely to participate (P = .002). Older age was positively related to total CR barriers (P < .001). Older patients more strongly endorsed the following CR barriers: already exercising at home (P = .001), confidence in ability to self-manage their condition (P = .003), perception of exercise as tiring or painful (P = .001), not knowing about CR (P = .001), lack of physician encouragement (P < .001), comorbidities (P < .001), and perception that CR would not improve their health (P < .001).
CONCLUSION: Given that the benefits of CR are achieved in older patients as well as the young, interventions to overcome these modifiable barriers to enrollment and participation are needed.