Background: Each year more than 4.3 million people in Europe will die of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the implementation of simple interventions such as smoking cessation, weight loss, improved diets, and increased exercise is the top priority in prevention and rehabilitation programs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of complex rehabilitation on the manifestation of risk factors and cardiac events in patients with coronary heart disease.
Material and methods: A total of 140 patients with coronary heart disease and NYHA functional class II-IV ischemic heart failure were recruited to the study. The patients were divided into 2 groups: 70 patients who underwent a 6-month complex rehabilitation course (rehabilitation group) and 70 patients who received drug treatment only (control group). Smoking, dietary, and physical activity habits were documented using the questionnaires. Blood pressure (BP), body weight and height, and total serum cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglyceride (Tg), and blood glucose levels were measured. Measurements were repeated after 3 and 6 months.
Results: After 6 months, significantly reduced systolic BP was observed in both the groups as compared with the baseline values (P<0.05). A significant decrease in the diastolic BP; total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglyceride and blood glucose levels; body mass index, and percentage of patients with the metabolic syndrome as compared with the baseline data was documented only in the rehabilitation group (P<0.05). All the patients quitted smoking as well as all the patients in the rehabilitation group changed their dietary habits (P<0.05). Fewer patients were excluded from the rehabilitation group because of cardiac events as compared with the control group (7.1% vs. 11.4%, P<0.05).
Conclusions: Complex long-term rehabilitation of cardiovascular patients significantly reduced the manifestation of major cardiovascular risk factors and the rate of cardiac events. Aerobic exercise must be the most important part of training but well-done resistance training must also be encouraged.