Background: Marital status has been clearly linked to subsequent health outcomes in those with established coronary heart disease (CHD). This robust association may be because of both pathophysiological and behavioural mechanisms.
Design: We employed meta-regression to examine the association between marital status and attendance at outpatient cardiac rehabilitation (CR) in published studies.
Methods: We searched electronic databases, for example, Medline and Science Citation Index, for published studies that reported an association between a measure of marital or partnered status and CR attendance in patients with diagnosed CHD.
Results: Eleven studies were identified which incorporated 6,984 CHD patients. Being married/partnered was associated with significantly higher odds of attending CR. Using a fixed effects model, the pooled odds ratio of CR attendance was 1.72 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.50-1.97] for those who were married/partnered. There was no evidence of heterogeneity of effects (P=0.42) or publication bias (P=0.12).
Conclusion: CHD patients who are married or have a partner are between 1.5-2 times more likely to attend CR. Associations between marital status and CR attendance may partly explain CHD outcomes.