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Heart Patients More Likely to Adopt Healthy Habits in 3-Year Program Led by Cardiac Rehabilitation Experts, Mayo Clinic Research Shows
Date:6/4/2008

hree to six months. This follows an initial intensive training period about lifestyle changes and medications. In contrast, aftercare programs often are only a few months long and lack coordination and direct involvement of health care providers who are specifically trained in cardiac rehabilitation, or who rigorously review clinical and lifestyle data.

-- The approach offers clear clinical benefits. At three years, the participants attained and maintained most of the behaviors for preventing subsequent heart attacks. These behaviors are known as secondary heart-attack prevention measures. They include exercising regularly and taking specific heart-protecting medications. Most lowered their cholesterol levels and blood pressure to within recommended levels. Of the 503 participants, compliance with aspirin usage was 91 percent; statin usage, 91 percent; beta-blocker usage, 78 percent; and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor usage, 76 percent.

-- Patients in the disease manager model of care versus traditional care had a lower death rate. While larger studies will need to validate this finding, over the three years of the study, 29 participants died, (25 men and four women), an annual death rate of 1.9 percent. This compares to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's expected annual death rate of 1.6 percent for Americans of comparable ages in the general population without heart problems. By comparison, the annual death rate over three years for an additional group of 102 patients who were enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation but who did not receive long-term disease management, was 6.5 percent.

-- Being overweight remains a prevalent and persistent risk factor for heart attack. As measured by body mass index, being overweight was the one heart disease risk factor that did not respond well to this disease manager approach. Other studies also have shown body weight to be the most change-resistant variable in efforts to promote heart hea
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SOURCE Mayo Clinic Public Affairs
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