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Rehab helps heart patients live longer -- but they have to show up
Date:10/22/2011

Vancouver Cardiac rehabilitation boosts longevity, especially in patients with the lowest fitness levels, Dr. Billie-Jean Martin today told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

"There are benefits to cardiac rehabilitation, regardless of how fit or unfit you are," says Dr. Martin, a cardiac surgery resident and PhD candidate at the University of Calgary's Libin Cardiovascular Institute. "Patients who take responsibility for their own health and make improvements in fitness can keep themselves alive longer."

Interestingly, the greatest health benefits were derived by those who were least fit to begin with. "For them, even improving fitness a little bit had a major impact," says Dr. Martin. "You don't need to be in good physical condition to reap the benefits of cardiac rehab. In fact, the lower the level of fitness the more valuable cardiac rehab may be."

All over the country, people with heart disease are offered cardiac rehab, a program of exercise, education and counseling designed to help them recover after a heart attack, from a heart condition, or following heart surgery. Cardiac Rehab has been shown to improve outcomes in many clinical studies. Unfortunately patients are not always referred and do not always participate in such programs, says Dr. Martin.

Researchers at the Cardiac Wellness Institute of Calgary (CWIC) conducted a study of 2,867 people with coronary artery disease who participated in a cardiac rehab program between 1996 and 2010. Upon enrollment, they were measured for weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol.

Their fitness levels were tested on a treadmill. They were categorized into three groups: low fitness, moderate fitness, or high fitness based on standardized scores.

Then, they attended 12 weeks of rehabilitation, during which they took their prescribed med
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Contact: Amanda Bates
amanda@curvecommunications.com
604-306-0027
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Source:Eurekalert

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