Purpose: Cardiac rehabilitation
(CR) effectively decreases morbidity and mortality in adults after cardiovascular events. Cardiac rehabilitation
has been underutilized for patients with congenital heart disease
(CHD). The primary objective was to evaluate the inclusion of adolescents and adults with CHD in a CR program by analyzing data from our single-center CR program. The secondary objectives were to evaluate the efficacy and safety of CR as well as referral barriers.
This was a retrospective study of patients aged ≥15 yr who were referred to regional CR centers. Data on efficacy and safety were collected.
Over a 4-yr period, 36 patients were referred to 23 regional centers: 23 patients completed CR, 12 are currently enrolled or in the referral process, and 1 died before initiation. The median age was 22 yr (range: 15-55). The primary indication was post-surgical (61%), followed by chronic heart failure (30%), and post-transplant (9%). After CR, metabolic equivalent tasks increased by 1.6 (P
< .001), maximal heart rate increased by 13 beats/min (P
= .026), exercise time increased by 1.35 min (P
= .047), and treadmill speed increased by 0.7 mph (P
= .007). There were no serious adverse events. All patients who completed CR remain alive at a median follow-up of 17 mo (range: 5-45). Common barriers to CR included accessibility, social circumstances, and cost for phase III CR.
In our cohort, CR was effective and safe for adolescents and adults with CHD.