Cardiac patients underserved globally due to lack of rehab programs

July 15, 2014, York University

Rehabilitation programs must become an integral part of cardiac care to significantly reduce the burden of living with heart disease, one of the most common chronic diseases and causes of death globally, according to York University Professor Sherry Grace.

"Cardiac rehabilitation is a cost-effective program offering exercise, education and risk reduction," says Grace, noting that participation results in 25 per cent less death, lower re-hospitalization rates and better quality of life.

Despite these benefits, is vastly underused, particularly compared with costly revascularization and medical therapy, according to the review Grace conducted with Karam Turk-Adawi in the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation & Prevention Unit, University Health Network (UHN), and Dr. Nizal Sarrafzadegan, director of Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran.

"Cardiac rehabilitation services are insufficiently implemented, with only 39 per cent of providing any," says Grace.

Heart disease has become an epidemic in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), and can reduce the socio-economic impact of the disease by promoting return to work and reducing premature mortality, notes to Grace, who is also the director of research at the GoodLife Fitness Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Unit at the UHN.

"If supportive health policies, funding, physician referral strategies and alternative delivery modes are implemented, we could reduce the ratio from one cardiac rehab program per 6.4 million inhabitants in a middle income country like Paraguay, to the one program per 102,000 available in the US, a high income country," adds Grace.

Low-income countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Kenya have one rehab program each for their entire population.

The article, Global availability of cardiac rehabilitation, published online at Nature Reviews Cardiology, indicates that while 68 per cent of high-income countries have cardiac rehabilitation, only 23 per cent of LMICs do, despite the fact that 80 per cent of deaths from occur in these countries.

Explore further: Financial incentives motivate sedentary adults to exercise

Related Stories

Financial incentives motivate sedentary adults to exercise

September 17, 2013
A review study published today finds that financial incentives –as modest as $5 per week – can increase the amount of exercise people do.

Making the business case for cardiac rehab programs

October 17, 2013
You know the saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to cardiac rehabilitation, a study presented today at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress has the numbers to prove it.

Rehab associated with reduced risk of death in women with CAD

March 7, 2013
Women with coronary artery disease who completed a 12-week cardiac rehabilitation program were two-thirds less likely to die compared to those who were not referred to the program. In addition, the mortality benefit derived ...

Rehab helps heart patients live longer -- but they have to show up

October 23, 2011
Cardiac rehabilitation boosts longevity, especially in patients with the lowest fitness levels, Dr. Billie-Jean Martin today told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and ...

Recommended for you

Biomechanical mapping method aids development of therapies for damaged heart tissue

January 23, 2018
Researchers have developed a new way to capture the detailed biomechanical properties of heart tissue. The high-resolution optical technique fills an important technology gap necessary to develop and test therapies that might ...

Researchers borrow from AIDS playbook to tackle rheumatic heart disease

January 22, 2018
Billions of US taxpayer dollars have been invested in Africa over the past 15 years to improve care for millions suffering from the HIV/AIDS epidemic; yet health systems on the continent continue to struggle. What if the ...

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.