Evaluation of the recommended core components of cardiac rehabilitation practice: an opportunity for quality improvement

J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2012 Jan-Feb;32(1):32-40. doi: 10.1097/HCR.0b013e31823be0e2.


Purpose: Guidelines have been established that describe recommended core components for cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs; yet, there are no national efforts to monitor the integration of the guidelines. The purpose of this research was to describe incorporation of core components in CR programs.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study using the Ohio Phase II Cardiac Rehabilitation Survey. Descriptive analyses were stratified on American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) certification, case management, and staff mix.

Results: Sixty-six percent (n = 94) of programs responded, 39% (n = 37) were AACVPR certified, 40% (n = 38) used case management, and 73% (n = 75) staffed an exercise physiologist. Notable findings included that only 44% of programs obtained/performed a 12-lead electrocardiogram and 36% screened for depression. AACVPR-certified programs compared with uncertified programs were more likely to manage overweight/obesity (100% vs 84% instruct on weight control, respectively, P = .02) and perform health assessments upon admission (89% vs 70% respectively, P = .04). Programs using case management when compared with programs that did not use case management were more likely to administer a health survey (92% vs 65%, respectively, P = .003) and risk stratify (100% vs 84%, respectively, P = .02). Programs with an exercise physiologist were more likely to administer/obtain a stress test when compared with those without an exercise physiologist (78% vs 56%, respectively, P = .04).

Conclusions: There was a lack of consistency in the incorporation of core component guidelines; certification, case management, and staff mix offered little improvement. This study provides direction for statewide quality improvement initiatives to improve care delivered in CR programs.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Case Management
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Coronary Artery Disease / prevention & control*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / rehabilitation
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Statistics as Topic