Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cardiac Rehabilitation Saves Lives

Date:
June 17, 2009
Source:
Brandeis University
Summary:
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and a major driver of medical and economic costs, especially among older adults. It has long been established that cardiac rehabilitation improves survival, at least in middle-aged, low- and moderate-risk white men. Now a large study reports that older cardiac patients benefit as much from cardiac rehab as their younger counterparts.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death worldwide and a major driver of medical and economic costs, especially among older adults. It has long been established that cardiac rehabilitation improves survival, at least in middle-aged, low- and moderate-risk white men. Now a large Brandeis University-led study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports that older cardiac patients benefit as much from cardiac rehab as their younger counterparts.

Related Articles


Worldwide, in 2004, 7.2 million people died from CHD, while in the United States alone, more than 13 million people suffered from CHD, and almost half a million died from heart disease in 2003. Moreover, Americans aged 65 and older account for more than 55 percent of heart attacks and 86 percent of CHD deaths.

"The good news is that patients who use cardiac rehab live longer than those who do not use it, regardless of their clinical diagnosis, gender, race, or socioeconomic background" said Dr. Jose Suaya, lead author and visiting scholar at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. The study showed that "patients with different clinical backgrounds—heart attacks, coronary bypass operations, and even congestive heart failure—all had lower mortality when using cardiac rehab," Dr. Suaya asserted.

The study examined mortality in 601,099 Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized in 1997 for heart disease or bypass surgery and followed up through 2002. The study used three different statistical techniques to compare mortality between patients who used cardiac rehab and those who didn't. Overall, within a span of five years, mortality rates were 21 percent to 34 percent lower in older adult patients who used cardiac rehab. Cardiac rehab is a covered benefit under Medicare.

"Despite the significant benefits of cardiac rehab, only 12 percent of these patients actually took advantage of it," said Professor Donald Shepard, a health economist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis. The regimen typically includes aerobic exercise and lifestyle counseling to reduce cholesterol, weight, and stress. The study found that patients who engaged in more than 24 sessions were an additional 19 percent less likely to die over five years than patients who used 24 sessions or fewer.

The findings are magnified among the extreme elderly and patients with other diseases, such as diabetes, on top of their heart disease. These types of patients were even less likely than others to participate, but those who did attend obtained especially large gains from cardiac rehab.

"This study should be a wake-up call to cardiac patients, their families, and their physicians that cardiac rehab can extend life and improve the quality of life, even in older people," said Dr. William Stason, senior scientist at the Heller School.

"The evidence is clear. Cardiac rehab saves lives but it is severely underused," noted Dr. Philip Ades, Professor of Cardiology at the University of Vermont and a coauthor of the study.

"The consistency of findings among the study's methodologies increases the reliability of the findings," observed Prof. Sharon-Lise Normand of Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, another co-author of the study.

"More coronary patients should use cardiac rehab. Perhaps one way to achieve this would be to require hospitals and physicians to report rates of referrals and use of this service as quality indicators of their performance," Dr. Suaya and coauthors concluded.

The study was funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brandeis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brandeis University. "Cardiac Rehabilitation Saves Lives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608182539.htm>.
Brandeis University. (2009, June 17). Cardiac Rehabilitation Saves Lives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608182539.htm
Brandeis University. "Cardiac Rehabilitation Saves Lives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608182539.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins