Aim: European cardiologists agree that cardiac rehabilitation (CR) should be offered as an integrated part of cardiac care, and CR guidelines have been published. The authors aimed to ascertain the potential for expanding CR coverage at hospitals in Denmark.
Method: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted among all hospitals receiving acute cardiac patients (n = 67). The response rate was 79%, with no differences according to catchment area, number of beds, or geographical location. The hospitals were classified as having full CR if all core components (physical training, psychosocial support, dietary counselling, smoking cessation, and pharmaceutical risk factor management) were available during each of three phases: (I) in hospital; (II) outpatient; and (II) community-based services.
Results: Many hospitals offered one or more of the CR components during phases I and II: physical training (77%; 77%), psychosocial support (89%; 79%), dietary counselling (85%; 89%), smoking cessation (94%; 68%), and clinical control by a physician (100%; 93%). The content varied greatly. Full phase I CR was offered at 57% (95% confidence interval (95% CI): 44-70%) of the hospitals and 47% (95% CI: 34-60%) offered full phase II CR. Phase III CR was very rare (2% (95% CI: 0-6%). The numbers of patients receiving CR was not registered.
Conclusion: Marked progress was made in the 1990s in implementing CR; nevertheless, the services are far from fully expanded. Denmark has great potential for improving CR services, as do most other European countries. CR activities need to be registered at Danish hospitals.