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Cardiac rehabilitation saves lives
Date:6/8/2009

ofessor Donald Shepard, a health economist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis. The regimen typically includes aerobic exercise and lifestyle counseling to reduce cholesterol, weight, and stress. The study found that patients who engaged in more than 24 sessions were an additional 19 percent less likely to die over five years than patients who used 24 sessions or fewer.

The findings are magnified among the extreme elderly and patients with other diseases, such as diabetes, on top of their heart disease. These types of patients were even less likely than others to participate, but those who did attend obtained especially large gains from cardiac rehab.

"This study should be a wake-up call to cardiac patients, their families, and their physicians that cardiac rehab can extend life and improve the quality of life, even in older people," said Dr. William Stason, senior scientist at the Heller School.

"The evidence is clear. Cardiac rehab saves lives but it is severely underused," noted Dr. Philip Ades, Professor of Cardiology at the University of Vermont and a coauthor of the study.

"The consistency of findings among the study's methodologies increases the reliability of the findings," observed Prof. Sharon-Lise Normand of Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, another co-author of the study.

"More coronary patients should use cardiac rehab. Perhaps one way to achieve this would be to require hospitals and physicians to report rates of referrals and use of this service as quality indicators of their performance," Dr. Suaya and coauthors concluded.


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Contact: Laura Gardner
gardner@brandeis.edu
781-736-4204
Brandeis University
Source:Eurekalert

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