Objective: To document the risk-factor profile and risk-factor knowledge of patients with an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) not attending standard cardiac rehabilitation.
Design and setting: Cross-sectional comparison in a tertiary hospital.
Participants: Patients admitted to hospital with an ACS, residing within 20 km of the hospital, and without severe comorbidity who did not access cardiac rehabilitation (NCR) were compared with a group about to commence standard cardiac rehabilitation (SCR).
Main outcome measures: Risk-factor profile, knowledge of risk factors via face-to-face assessment, quality of life.
Results: Of the 446 patients eligible for cardiac rehabilitation, 208 attended for assessment (NCR: n = 144; SCR: n = 64). The NCR group had higher mean (+/- SEM) low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (2.6 +/- 0.1 v 2.3 +/- 0.1; P = 0.02), and were more likely than the SCR group to have a total cholesterol level of > 4.0 mmol/L (78% v 53%; P < 0.001) and an LDL cholesterol level > 2.5 mmol/L (47% v 25%; P = 0.01). They were more likely than the SCR group to be physically inactive (77% v 22%; P < 0.001); obese (46% v 33%; P = 0.04); depressed (21% v 5%; P < 0.001); or current smokers (21% v 1%; P < 0.001). Compared with the SCR group, the NCR group also had higher risk scores (LIPID risk score) (4.5 v 2.1; P < 0.001); lower quality of life (Medical Outcome Short Form [SF-36] Health Survey); and significantly poorer knowledge of risk factors. Among patients with at least two modifiable cardiac risk factors, the NCR group were less likely than the SCR group to be able to state at least one risk factor (24% v 38%; P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Patients not participating in cardiac rehabilitation after an ACS have more adverse risk profiles and poorer knowledge of risk factors compared with those about to commence cardiac rehabilitation. Alternate models for secondary prevention are required to improve health outcomes in patients not attending cardiac rehabilitation.