The Effects of Cardiac Rehabilitation on Mortality and Morbidity in Women: A META-ANALYSIS ATTEMPT : Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention

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Cardiac Rehabilitation

The Effects of Cardiac Rehabilitation on Mortality and Morbidity in Women


Ghisi, Gabriela Lima de Melo PhD; Chaves, Gabriela Suéllen da Silva PhD; Bennett, Amanda MD; Lavie, Carl J. MD; Grace, Sherry L. PhD, FCCS

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Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention 39(1):p 39-42, January 2019. | DOI: 10.1097/HCR.0000000000000351


Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is associated with significant reductions in mortality and morbidity, but few women are included in trials. Therefore, a meta-analysis of the effects of CR in women is warranted.


Randomized controlled trials from recent systematic reviews that included women attending comprehensive CR and reporting the outcomes of mortality and morbidity (hospitalization, myocardial infarction, bypass surgery, percutaneous coronary intervention) were considered for inclusion. An updated search of the literature was performed from the end date of the last search, based on the Cochrane strategy. Authors were contacted to provide results on women where none were reported.


On the basis of 2 recent systematic reviews, 80 trials were identified. Fifty (62.5%) were excluded, most commonly due to lack of inclusion of women (n = 18; 22.5%). One trial was identified through the search update. Of 31 potential trials meeting inclusion criteria, 1 reported results on women and many were old, and hence data by sex were no longer available. Ultimately, data for women were available in 2 trials. Therefore, it was deemed inappropriate to undertake this meta-analysis.


This review corroborates the dearth of data on CR in women despite the fact that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women. Given the totality of evidence, including reductions in mortality and morbidity in nonrandomized studies, and evidence of benefit for other important outcomes such as functional capacity and quality of life, women should continue to be referred to CR.

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