The role of cardiac rehabilitation in improving cardiovascular outcomes

Rod S. Taylor, Hasnain M. Dalal, Sinéad T. J. McDonagh
2021 Nature Reviews Cardiology  
Cardiac rehabilitation is a complex intervention that seeks to improve the functional capacity, wellbeing and health-related quality of life of patients with heart disease. A substantive evidence base supports cardiac rehabilitation as a clinically effective and cost-effective intervention for patients with acute coronary syndrome or heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and after coronary revascularization. In this Review, we discuss the major contemporary challenges that face cardiac
more » ... habilitation. Despite the strong recommendation in current clinical guidelines for the referral of these patient groups, global access to cardiac rehabilitation remains poor. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a further reduction in access to cardiac rehabilitation. An increasing body of evidence supports home-based and technology-based models of cardiac rehabilitation as alternatives or adjuncts to traditional centre-based programmes, especially in low-income and middle-income countries, in which cardiac rehabilitation services are scarce, and scalable and affordable models are much needed. Future approaches to the delivery of cardiac rehabilitation need to align with the growing multimorbidity of an ageing population and cater to the needs of the increasing numbers of patients with cardiac disease who present with two or more chronic diseases. Future research priorities include strengthening the evidence base for cardiac rehabilitation in other indications, including heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, atrial fibrillation and congenital heart disease and after valve surgery or heart transplantation, and evaluation of the implementation of sustainable and affordable models of delivery that can improve access to cardiac rehabilitation in all income settings.
doi:10.1038/s41569-021-00611-7 pmid:34531576 pmcid:PMC8445013 fatcat:xzow2fff6zddhia2wbiqmja7am