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PURPOSE: To evaluate the long-term outcome of a 12-week outpatient cardiac rehabilitation (CR) program.
METHODS: In a prospective single-center interventional cohort study, 201 consecutive patients (133 patients after acute coronary syndrome, 32 patients after heart surgery, and 36 patients with heart failure) attending a 12-week comprehensive outpatient CR program were evaluated for exercise capacity, cardiovascular risk factors (CvRFs), and quality of life at entry, end, and 1.4 years after completion of the program (followup).
RESULTS: Physical exercise capacity improved significantly from program entry to program end and remained at this level at followup (P <= .006). CvRFs at followup were significantly reduced with regard to smoking prevalence and blood lipids (P < .001). At program end and followup, MacNew heart disease-specific emotional, physical, and social quality of life were improved significantly compared with those at program entry (P < .001). Use of cardioprotective medication remained equally high over the entire study period. However, significantly fewer patients reached blood pressure (<140/90 mm Hg, P = .034) and body mass index (<30 kg/m2, P = .017) goals at followup than at program end.
CONCLUSION: The 12-week comprehensive outpatient CR program was successful at reducing important CvRFs long-term.
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