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Four-week Multidisciplinary Cardiac Rehabilitation Produces Similar Improvements in Exercise Capacity and Quality of Life to a 10-week Program

Hevey, David PhD; Brown, Angela MD; Cahill, Alison RN; Newton, Helen RN; Kierns, Mary RN; Horgan, John Henry MD

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention: January-February 2003 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - p 17-21
Cardiac Rehabilitation

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.

From the Department of Cardiology (Drs Hevey, Brown, Horgan, and Mss Brown, Cahill, Newton, Kierns), Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; and Department of Psychology (Dr Hevey), Trinity College Dublin. Dublin, Ireland.

Address correspondence to: David Hevey, PhD, Department of Psychology, Trinity College, Dublin. Dublin 2, Ireland (e-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.