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Long-term Results of a 12-Week Comprehensive Ambulatory Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Blum, Manuel R. MD; Schmid, Jean-Paul MD; Eser, Prisca PhD; Saner, Hugo MD

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention: March/April 2013 - Volume 33 - Issue 2 - p 84–90
doi: 10.1097/HCR.0b013e3182779b88
Cardiac Rehabilitation

PURPOSE: To evaluate the long-term outcome of a 12-week outpatient cardiac rehabilitation (CR) program.

METHODS: In a prospective single-center interventional cohort study, 201 consecutive patients (133 patients after acute coronary syndrome, 32 patients after heart surgery, and 36 patients with heart failure) attending a 12-week comprehensive outpatient CR program were evaluated for exercise capacity, cardiovascular risk factors (CvRFs), and quality of life at entry, end, and 1.4 years after completion of the program (followup).

RESULTS: Physical exercise capacity improved significantly from program entry to program end and remained at this level at followup (P ≤ .006). CvRFs at followup were significantly reduced with regard to smoking prevalence and blood lipids (P < .001). At program end and followup, MacNew heart disease–specific emotional, physical, and social quality of life were improved significantly compared with those at program entry (P < .001). Use of cardioprotective medication remained equally high over the entire study period. However, significantly fewer patients reached blood pressure (<140/90 mm Hg, P = .034) and body mass index (<30 kg/m2, P = .017) goals at followup than at program end.

CONCLUSION: The 12-week comprehensive outpatient CR program was successful at reducing important CvRFs long-term.

Physical exercise capacity and cardiovascular risk factor goals, that is, smoking abstinence and blood lipids, as well as emotional, physical, and social quality of life, were improved by a 12-week comprehensive outpatient cardiovascular rehabilitation program. This improvement was maintained for a long-term. Goals regarding blood pressure and body mass index were not maintained.

Hospital Interlaken, Unterseen (Dr Blum); and Department of Cardiology, Division of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, Bern University Hospital and University of Bern (Drs Schmid, Eser, and Saner), Switzerland.

Correspondence: Hugo Saner, MD, Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Clinic and Policlinic for Cardiology, University Hospitals, Inselspital, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.