The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have updated the 2011 clinical practice guidelines for secondary prevention of coronary artery disease and treatment following PCI and CABG. These updates provide a class IA level of recommendation for referral to cardiac rehabilitation (CR)/secondary prevention programs.
The ACC / AHA base the updates on recent evidence that indicates participation in cardiac rehabilitation for patients with angina – or following PCI, CABG, or myocardial infarction – improves five-year mortality by 25 - 46%. In addition, cardiac rehabilitation improves function, modifiable risk factors, and quality of life. Despite this, multiple research studies indicate that cardiac rehabilitation programs remain underutilized, especially among older patients, women, and minorities.
Referral to CR is incorporated into performance measure sets and guidelines, based on accumulating evidence. Like other important treatments, such as recommending aspirin use, a referral to CR is encouraged as part of the physicians’ approach to care for this patient population. Even brief endorsement of cardiac rehabilitation by a physician has been shown to improve participation, and is in fact the most potent predictor of cardiac rehab participation.
Cardiac Rehab at NCH
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at NCH includes core components recommended by the AHA and the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). These components include patient assessment; individualized, medically supervised exercise; education about modifiable risk factors; and psychosocial support. In addition, the Cardiac Rehab team at NCH regularly communicates with referring physicians and other healthcare providers about patient progress and barriers to meeting goals.
“Patient referral to a comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program can complement and extend physicians’ secondary prevention efforts beyond those provided during office visits,” says Paul Ruzumna, chief of Cardiology at NCH. “By emphasizing the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation and by facilitating enrollment, physicians can make a big difference in their patients’ health and quality of life.”
For more information from the ACC, and to access cardiac rehabilitation resources for patients, click here. To learn more about the NCH Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, please contact Anne Gavic-Ott, MPA, manager of Cardiopulmonary Health and Rehabilitation, at 847.618.7914.