Advertising


News

‘Underused’ cardiac rehab programs prove lifesaving: Study


Michelle Wisbey


11/04/2024 4:40:22 PM

GPs are being urged to promote the initiative to patients, after it was revealed those who attend are 38% less likely to die or be hospitalised.

Telehealth consultation.
Delivering cardiac rehabilitation programs via telehealth could help to improve uptake.

A stint at a cardiac rehabilitation (CR) program has proved lifesaving for many, but the services are being severely underutilised, researchers say.
 
Embarking on the largest study of its kind, a team from Flinders University reviewed the data of more than 84,000 South Australian patients who were admitted to hospital with cardiac issues.
 
This included those suffering a heart attack, chronic heart disease, irregular heartrate, or installing a pacemaker.
 
Of those patients, around one third were referred to cardiac rehabilitation, 36% of which started a program, and of those, 78% finished it.
 
Published in Heart, Lung and Circulation, the results revealed that compared to undertaking no program at all, those who completed it were 38% less likely to die or to be readmitted to hospital for a heart related issue within the following year.
 
Those results remained similar in the three years post-referral.
 
However, despite the proven effectiveness of such programs, they continue to be underutilised, says Senior author, Professor Robyn Clark.
 
She says one reason patients choose to not attend the program is because they prefer to follow up with their GP.
 
‘Our findings underscore the critical role of cardiac rehabilitation in reducing mortality and cardiovascular re-admissions,’ Professor Clark said.
 
‘They aren’t being used to their full potential, with very few patients being referred to the program and of those that are, wait times and other barriers mean many are unable to complete the program to its full benefit.
 
‘By addressing barriers to participation and promoting program completion, we can significantly improve cardiovascular outcomes in South Australia and nationally.’
 
It comes as cardiovascular disease continues to plague the Australian healthcare system, responsible for 24% of all deaths and leading to 1500 hospitalisations every day.
 
The study revealed patients who were female, older, or suffered conditions such as cancer, stroke, or obesity were less likely to be referred to these rehabilitation programs.
 
Additionally, a diagnosis of depression and long waiting times stopped many patients embarking on the program.
 
In a bid to remove these barriers, researchers are calling for such rehabilitation programs to be delivered through telehealth.
 
They found when this service was accessible, especially for those living in regional and remote areas, it was strongly associated with higher completion rates.
 
Professor Clark said these multidisciplinary telehealth programs, supported by primary care, also allow the rehabilitation to be better tailored to patient need and preference.
 
‘Quality improvement initiatives should focus on promoting CR referral or introducing an automated system, addressing barriers to participation among women, enhancing access to telehealth services, and reducing waiting times in order to increase program completion rates,’ she said.
 
Log in below to join the conversation.



cardiovascular disease CVD preventive health


newsGP weekly poll Which of the below incentive amounts (paid annually) would be sufficient to encourage you to provide eight consultations and two care plans to a residential aged care patient per year?
 
0%
 
1%
 
4%
 
4%
 
34%
 
54%
Related



newsGP weekly poll Which of the below incentive amounts (paid annually) would be sufficient to encourage you to provide eight consultations and two care plans to a residential aged care patient per year?

Advertising

Advertising


Login to comment