Purpose: Cardiac rehabilitation is an effective but underprovided treatment for patients recovering from acute cardiac events. The geographical spread of provision has not been investigated recently in any country. This study aimed to investigate the level of participation in cardiac rehabilitation programs of patients following myocardial infarction or revascularization (eligible patients) and the geographical equity of attendance.
Methods: Questionnaire data were collected from all cardiac rehabilitation centers in England for the year 2003/2004. The number of patients attending rehabilitation was compared with eligible patients across the 9 Government Office Regions of England as indicated by Hospital Episode Statistics.
Results: Nationally, 29% of eligible patients attended rehabilitation, while within various regions, the proportion of eligible patients participating in rehabilitation ranged between 14% (95% CI, 13.2-14.3) and 37% (95% CI, 36.6-37.6). Participation also differed significantly by primary cardiac event: myocardial infarction, 25%; percutaneous coronary intervention, 24%; and coronary artery bypass surgery, 66% (P < .001).
Conclusion: The participation rate of eligible patients in cardiac rehabilitation was low in all regions. There were large differences between regions with widely varying incidence of attendance in different parts of the country.