Purpose: To compare patient demographics, the presence or absence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, medications on entry, compliance with cardiac rehabilitation (CR), and exercise outcomes at 6 months among South Asians and whites attending a CR program.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of South Asian (n = 220) and white (n = 980) patients participating in 2 outpatient, hospital-based CR programs over a 3-year period.
Results: South Asians were younger (56 vs 59 years; P = .004), had lower body mass index (26.8 vs 28.4 kg/m2 P < .0001), had lower rates of hypertension (36% vs 45%; P = .01), were less likely to be smokers (25% vs 50%; P = .00001), and were more likely to have diabetes (36% vs 23%; P = .0001). Compliance with the 6-month CR program was poor in both groups, but South Asians were less likely to complete the entire program (43% vs 51%; P = .04). Over the course of CR, maximum achieved metabolic equivalent during stress testing improved in both groups; however, South Asian patients trended to a greater change and more often reached at least 85% of target heart rate (55% vs 42%; P = .02).
Conclusion: South Asians participating in CR are younger, have a different risk factor profile, benefit equally, but are less compliant than whites. Further research is needed to better understand the barriers faced by South Asians in successfully participating in and completing CR programs.