Patients who underwent rehabilitation after being hospitalized for coronary heart disease have improved prognosis and lower mortality (hazard ratio 0.067; 95% CI: 0.025-0.180; P<0.001) compared with those who did not, researchers found.

Rehabilitation is recommended for many patients after hospitalization for coronary heart disease (CHD). However, previous studies have shown that many patients choose not to participate even if rehabilitation is offered to them, and some patient requests are denied for unknown reasons or because rehabilitation is not clearly indicated.

A recent study examined data for 1,910 patients with CHD who participated in two previous prospective cohort studies at the University Hospital of Halle (Saale) in Germany from 2007 to 2011. The patients were contacted and administered surveys to determine rehabilitation status.


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Although at least 727 (38.1%) of patients applied for rehabilitation during their acute hospitalization and had a clear indication for rehabilitation need, such as ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), decompensated heart failure, or heart surgery, only 552 (28.9%) of the patients actually underwent rehabilitation. For 145 of the requests (20%), it could not be determined why the request was not approved or not completed.

A significantly higher percentage of patients who had not undergone rehabilitation were found to have died from cardiac causes than those who underwent rehabilitation, the researchers found. Of the 315 patients who died during the study, 223 (70.8%) died from heart disease. Of those who had undergone rehabilitation, only 2.3% died from cardiac causes.