Objective: To investigate the prevalence and predictors of early drop-out from a cardiac rehabilitation programme and also whether completers and drop-out patients differed in relation to their illness cognitions, gender and psychological distress and quality of life.
Design: A six-week outpatient cardiac rehabilitation programme.
Setting: A university teaching hospital.
Subjects: One hundred and eighty-nine patients were recruited from a consecutive series of outpatient referrals prior to a six-week comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation programme.
Outcome measures: The revised Illness Perception Questionnaire, Quality of Life after Myocardial Infarction Questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
Results: One hundred and forty-seven cardiac patients completed the cardiac rehabilitation programme. Forty-two (22%) patients dropped out in the first two weeks. Factors predicting early drop-out were female gender, younger age, higher Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale score, lower illness perception consequences and higher illness perception personal control and lower illness perception treatment control (all P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Over a fifth of the patients did not complete this typical cardiac rehabilitation programme. Female patients are more likely to drop out from cardiac rehabilitation than men. Psychological distress, younger age and lower perceptions of consequences, higher perception personal control and lower illness perception of treatment control were predictors of early drop-out from a cardiac rehabilitation programme.