A new study finds people who participated in a cardiac-rehab program after a heart attack had about the same three-year survival rate as those of the same age and sex who had not had a heart attack. Overall, researchers estimate about half of the deaths that occurred among patients in their study were due to not taking part in a cardiac-rehab program.
The investigation involved about 1,800 patients. Nearly 60 percent participated in cardiac rehab after having a heart attack. Men, younger people, and those with fewer additional medical problems were more likely than women, older people, and those with more additional medical problems to participate in cardiac rehab. Even after adjusting for other factors, women, for example, were 55-percent less likely to participate in rehab than men. People ages 70 and older were 77-percent less likely to participate than those under age 60.
Thus researchers conclude that more needs to be done to help heart attack patients especially women and older people overcome barriers to rehab attendance as increased participation in cardiac rehabilitation could lead to improved survival among a large proportion of patients with MI [myocardial infarction].