1. Alexander, Jeffrey L. PhD
  2. Wagner, Carolyn L. RN

Article Content


Despite the known benefits of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) many patients fail to adhere to CR. Regardless of the reasons for a lack of adherence, it remains unclear what the short (3-month) and long (1-year) term benefit of CR attendance is for patients at varying levels of adherence.



The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between adherence to CR and achieved benefits as measured by Health Related Quality of Life (HRQL) and exercise capacity (ExCp) to a 12-week, Phase II CR program.



Previously collected data from 153 CR patients (114 males, 39 females; 69.1 +/- 11.5 yrs) was utilized to complete this retrospective study. Patients had completed the Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form-36 (SF36) to assess HRQL at the beginning of CR (N = 153) and at 3-months (N = 152) and 1-year (N = 94). ExCp was determined by the patients` maximum MET level achieved in their last session of CR. Pearson correlation coefficients were generated to assess the relationship between CR attendance and improvements in HRQL as well as ending ExCp. Paired sample t-tests were completed to determine the effect of CR on HRQL at 3-months and 1-year for the entire sample.



Average attendance was 19 out of 36 sessions (54% adherence rate). Pearson correlation coefficients showed no relationship between CR adherence and improvements in HRQL (r = 0.0003 to 0.11) and a moderate relationship (r = 0.52) between adherence and ExCp. Significant improvements in HRQL were found among all patients regardless of adherence rate from baseline to 3-months with improvements remaining significant at 1-year.



Study findings demonstrate the effectiveness of CR in improving patient HRQL short- and long-term regardless of patient adherence rate. However, these findings suggest ExCp achieved in CR is related to patient adherence.