Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cardiac Rehabilitation Can Lead to Better Outcomes

By Paul A. Gurbel, M.D.
Director of Cardiovascular Research at the Center for Thrombosis Research at Sinai Hospital

Results of a recent study published in Circulation reveal that patients who complete a full complement of 36 cardiac rehabilitation sessions reduced their risk of suffering a heart attack and lived longer lives. The results drive home the importance of cardiac rehabilitation in the continuum of care for patients with heart disease and illustrate the importance of doctors prescribing and encouraging this vital practice.

Conducted by researchers at Duke University School of Medicine and Jefferson Medical College, the study examined the medical histories of more than 30,000 Medicare patients (ages 65 and older) who took part in at least one cardiac rehabilitation session during a five-year span. People who took part in all 36 sessions, which were reimbursed by Medicare, had a 14 percent lower risk of death and a 12 percent lower risk of a subsequent heart attack than those who attended 24 sessions. These percentages increased when compared with patients who took part in 24 sessions or less.

Perhaps the most dramatic finding was that patients who attended all 36 sessions had a 47 percent lower risk of death and a 31 percent lower risk of subsequent heart attack compared to patients who only attended one session.

As a cardiologist, I have continually observed that patients who complete a full cardiac rehabilitation program end up experiencing better outcomes, feel better physically, and have a good chance of continuing a regular exercise routine after rehabilitation concludes.

The patients we treat for heart disease at Sinai Hospital and the other facilities throughout the LifeBridge Health are fortunate to have access to a world-class cardiac rehabilitation program.

The LifeBridge Health Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is housed in a new state-of-the-art facility at Northwest Hospital under the direction of Program Manager Lisa Gerberg, RN. Lisa is also the Vice President of Maryland Association of Cardiovascular Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Through her close affiliation with this program, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the latest rehabilitation techniques and shares the insights with her outstanding staff and our patients to improve the rehabilitation process and improve outcomes.

The LifeBridge Health Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is tailored to fit each patient’s needs and physical abilities and includes counseling about cardiovascular disease, nutrition, reducing stress and proper use of medications.

This recent study should serve as a strong reminder to physicians and caregivers to educate patients on the importance of starting a cardiac rehabilitation program as soon as possible after surgery and maintaining it for the full 36 sessions. Doctors also need to pay attention to the cardiac rehabilitation reports during follow up appointments and offer continued positive reinforcement to the patient about their progress. This type of encouragement goes a long way towards improving patient outcomes and as this study shows, can save lives.

To learn more about the cardiac rehabilitation program, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

1 comment:

ryan said...

That's very informative. This will now help me convince my grandpa to got for such health care programs