Thursday, July 30, 2009

Many heart disease patients not referred for rehab (USA)

Despite evidence that cardiac rehabilitation helps patients following discharge from the hospital, almost half of heart disease patients eligible for such rehabilitation are not referred for it, according to a new study. Cardiac rehabilitation involves exercise and counseling on diet and other risk factors. It has been shown to decrease the likelihood of future heart problems. Dr. Todd M. Brown, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, analyzed data from the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines program. Included were 72,817 patients who were discharged from 156 hospitals in the US after a heart attack or procedure such as placement of a stent or bypass surgery to clear blocked arteries feeding the heart, between January 2000 and September 2007. Brown and colleagues note in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that just 56 percent of patients were referred for cardiac rehabilitation, the report indicates. Those who had undergone bypass operations were more likely - 74 percent overall - to be referred. "Increased physician awareness about the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation and initiatives to overcome barriers to referral are critical to improve the quality of care of patients with coronary artery disease," the authors conclude. SOURCE: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, August 4, 2009 - Reuters

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