Women Attend Fewer Cardiac Rehabilitation Sessions Than Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sherry L. Grace, PhD Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science York University Sr. Scientist, Cardiorespiratory Fitness Team Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network Toronto Western Hospital Toronto, ON

Dr. Sherry Grace

Sherry L. Grace, PhD
Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science
York University
Sr. Scientist, Cardiorespiratory Fitness Team
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network
Toronto Western Hospital
Toronto, ON

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Grace: Cardiac rehabilitation is an outpatient chronic disease management program. It is a standardized model of care, comprised of risk factor assessment and management, exercise training, patient education, as well and dietary and psychosocial counseling. Patients generally attend two times a week for several months.

Participation in cardiac rehab has been shown to reduce death and disability. This is a dose-response association, such that more cardiac rehab participation is associated with even less death, etc. Therefore, it is important that patients adhere to the program, or participate in all the prescribed sessions.

No one has ever reviewed patient adherence to cardiac rehab in a systematic way. It has always been assumed that patients only attend about half of prescribed sessions. Also, many studies have shown that women attend fewer sessions than men. However, this has been known for some time, so we would hope that in the current era, this sex difference would not exist. No study has ever aggregated and analyzed sex differences in program adherence, so we set out to do this.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Grace: We showed that patients adhere to on average two-thirds of prescribed sessions. Women do adhere to significantly fewer sessions than men.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Grace: Physicians must refer patients so they can access cardiac rehabilitation. Our findings show how engaged both men and women are in cardiac rehabilitation once they enroll, and therefore they will reap significant health benefits. Thus, it is very important for physicians to refer men and women to cardiac rehabilitation, as per clinical practice guideline recommendations for patients with cardiovascular diseases.

We hope patients will become more aware of the importance of enrolling in cardiac rehabilitation, and once they do, to fully adhere to the program. We know patients who complete cardiac rehabilitation have even lower death rates than those who do not.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Grace: There have been a few strategies shown to increase cardiac rehab adherence, such as self-monitoring of physical activity, action planning and tailored counseling by cardiac rehabilitation staff. We need to test whether these interventions work in women.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Sherry L. Grace, PhD et al. Sex Differences in Cardiac Rehabilitation Adherence: A Meta-analysis. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, April 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.cjca.2016.01.036

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