Trends and disparities in referral to cardiac rehabilitation after percutaneous coronary intervention

Am Heart J. 2011 Mar;161(3):544-551.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2010.11.016.


Background: Despite the known benefits of cardiac rehabilitation in patients with coronary artery disease, referral rates to rehabilitation programs remain low. We determined the incidence and determinants of cardiac rehabilitation referral rates for patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Methods and results: The incidence and predictors of referral to cardiac rehabilitation were assessed among 145,661 consecutive patients undergoing PCI and surviving to hospital discharge across 31 hospitals in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium between 2003 and 2008. The 6-year cardiac rehabilitation referral rate was 60.2%. Younger age, male gender, white race, and presentation with acute or severe disease (ie, acute myocardial infarction [AMI] in the previous 24 hours and ST-elevation myocardial infarction) were associated with increased referral to rehabilitation (all P < .0001). Most medical comorbidities were associated with decreased referral. Referral rates for cardiac rehabilitation were below the rates of other AMI quality-of-care indicators and more variable across hospital sites. Race-specific referral rates differed significantly in the lowest referring hospitals (P < .0001) but not in the highest referring hospitals (P = .16). Women had a 0.7% relative decrease in referral as compared to men (P = .0188) in the highest referring hospitals but a 26.7% relative decrease in referral in the lowest referring hospitals (P = .02).

Conclusions: Over one third of patients undergoing PCI are not referred for cardiac rehabilitation. Referral rates are below the rates of other AMI quality-of-care performance measures and more variable across sites. Racial and gender disparities in referral to rehabilitation exist but are concentrated at the lowest referring hospitals.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Healthcare Disparities / trends
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / trends