Background: Participation in cardiac rehabilitation after acute myocardial infarction is sub-optimal. Offering home-based rehabilitation may improve uptake. We report the first randomized study of cardiac rehabilitation to include patient preference.
Aim: To compare the clinical effectiveness of a home-based rehabilitation with hospital-based rehabilitation after myocardial infarction and to determine whether patient choice affects clinical outcomes.
Design: Pragmatic randomized controlled trial with patient preference arms.
Setting: Rural South West England.
Methods: Patients admitted with uncomplicated myocardial infarction were offered hospital-based rehabilitation classes over 8-10 weeks or a self-help package of six weeks' duration (the Heart Manual) supported by a nurse. Primary outcomes at 9 months were mean depression and anxiety scores on the Hospital Anxiety Depression scale, quality of life after myocardial infarction (MacNew) score and serum total cholesterol.
Results: Of the 230 patients who agreed to participate, 104 (45%) consented to randomization and 126 (55%) chose their rehabilitation programme. Nine month follow-up data were available for 84/104 (81%) randomized and 100/126 (79%) preference patients. At follow-up no difference was seen in the change in mean depression scores between the randomized home and hospital-based groups (mean difference: 0; 95% confidence interval, -1.12 to 1.12) nor mean anxiety score (-0.07; -1.42 to 1.28), mean global MacNew score (0.14; -0.35 to 0.62) and mean total cholesterol levels (-0.18; -0.62 to 0.27). Neither were there any significant differences in outcomes between the preference groups.
Conclusions: Home-based cardiac rehabilitation with the Heart Manual was as effective as hospital-based rehabilitation for patients after myocardial infarction. Choosing a rehabilitation programme did not significantly affect clinical outcomes.