Long-term results of a three-week intensive cardiac out-patient rehabilitation program in motivated patients with low social status

Clin Res Cardiol. 2007 Feb;96(2):77-85. doi: 10.1007/s00392-007-0461-0. Epub 2006 Dec 14.


The short-term benefits of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) are well established. In contrast, well-documented long-term results are rare. The objective of this longitudinal multi-centre observational study was to examine the effects of intensive out-patient CR in a larger patient cohort, especially for patients with low social status. We present the final results 24 months after CR.

Methods: The study group of 327 patients (288 men, 39 women, aged 56.0+/-10.8 years, coronary artery disease in 295, other cardiac diseases in 32) participated in a 3- week CR programme followed by clinical re-evaluations 6 (III), 12 (IV) an 24 (V) months later.

Results: The improvement in mean maximal performance of 100.5+/-31.4 to 123.1+/-36.2 W (p<0.01) achieved during CR was further improved to 128.7+/-40.9 W (p < 0,01) after 24 months. Of the patients, 61.2% reported regular physical activity during the 24 months of the study. The lipid management achieved by CR was maintained over 24 month. At I 65%, at II 84.4% and at V 82.4% of the patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) were undergoing lipid lowering therapy. BMI increased from 26.8+/-3.0 to 27.6+/-3.6 kg/m2 (p < 0.01) during follow-up. Of the patients, 23.2% were active smokers at V. Cardiovascular diagnosis remained unaltered in 74.3% of patients. The obtained results are interesting with respect to the social status of the patients since 68% were general laborers. The results confirm the long-term effectiveness of an intensive 3-week out-patient CR programme. Most of the benefits achieved by CR appear to be sustainable in this population for at least 2 years.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Artery Disease / rehabilitation
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany
  • Heart Diseases / blood
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis
  • Heart Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational
  • Social Class*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides