Underutilization of Cardiac Rehabilitation in Women: BARRIERS AND SOLUTIONS : Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention

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Invited Review

Underutilization of Cardiac Rehabilitation in Women


Khadanga, Sherrie MD; Gaalema, Diann E. PhD; Savage, Patrick MS; Ades, Philip A. MD

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Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention 41(4):p 207-213, July 2021. | DOI: 10.1097/HCR.0000000000000629


Despite the known benefits of cardiac rehabilitation (CR), it remains underutilized particularly among women. The aim of this review was to provide an overview regarding women in CR, addressing barriers that may affect enrollment and attendance as well as to discuss the training response and methods to optimize exercise-related benefits of CR.

Review Methods: 

The review examines original studies and meta-analyses regarding women in CR.


Women are less likely to engage in CR compared with men, and this may be attributed to lack of referral or psychosocial barriers on the part of the patient. Furthermore, despite having lower levels of fitness, women do not improve their fitness as much as men in CR. This review summarizes the current literature and provides recommendations for providers regarding participation and adherence as well as optimal methods for exercise training for women in CR.

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