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older adults' cardiac recovery



  1. Dolansky, Mary A. RN, PhD
  2. Moore, Shirley M. RN, PhD


PURPOSE: This study aimed to examine differences in lower extremity function as well as perception of physical and mental function between adults 70 years of age or older who participated in a phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation program (CRP) (n = 32) and those who did not participate in a CRP (n = 33) after coronary artery bypass surgery (CABS).


METHODS: In this two-group longitudinal comparative study, recovery outcomes measured at baseline (6 weeks) and 6 months after CABS were compared between older adults who participated and those who did not participate in a CRP.


RESULTS: In study groups that were equivalent before the CRP, analysis of covariance (controlling for baseline scores) showed that 6 months after hospital discharge, those who participated in a CRP had greater lower extremity strength (F = 3.9; P =.04), greater ankle range of motion (F = 4.2; P =.02), better dynamic balance (F = 8.2; P =.003), better static balance (F = 3.3; P =.04), better gait (F = 4.7; P =.02), and perceptions of better physical function (F = 14.8; P =.00). The results remained the same when control was used for the effects of social support, self-efficacy, depression, comorbidity, cardiac functional status, and gender for all the variables except static balance. No difference related to perception of mental function was found between the study groups (F =.10; P =. 74).


CONCLUSIONS: Participation in a CRP by older individuals improves lower extremity function (an important dimension in preventing disability) and perception of physical function. Cardiac rehabilitation programs can be used to optimize the recovery outcomes of older individuals after CABS.