Background: Women are underrepresented in cardiac rehabilitation (CR). Few reports describe outcomes and explore factors that may be barriers to CR participation among women. The purposes of this study were to (1) compare baseline characteristics between women who completed and did not complete CR, (2) identify factors associated with women completing CR, and (3) describe outcomes among completers.
Methods: Study sample included women (n = 228) with coronary heart disease enrolled in CR at an academic medical center's program (January 1996-August 2003). Baseline differences between completers and noncompleters were compared; multivariate regression analyses identified factors associated with completers. Outcome measures included lipid levels, 6-minute walk distances, body mass index, Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II), self-reports of diet, physical activity, smoking, and perceived health status.
Results: Mean age was 62 +/- 11 years, 44% were nonwhite, and 42% were stratified as high risk. Dyslipidemia was the most common risk factor (85%) followed by hypertension (81%), low physical activity (74%), obesity (53%), diabetes (39%), and smoking (18%). BDI-II scores were elevated (> or = 14) in 31% of women. In the adjusted multivariate regression model, completers were less likely to be obese (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.28, CI 0.10-0.76, P = .01) or have elevated BDI-II scores (AOR 0.87, CI 0.81-0.95 P = .001) than noncompleters. Completers achieved significant improvements in all outcome measures (all P < .05) except for high-density lipoprotein.
Conclusion: Women enrolled in CR had a high risk factor burden and those completing achieved significant benefits. Women not completing CR were more likely to be obese or have depressive symptoms which may serve as barriers to completing CR.