Cardiac rehabilitation after myocardial infarction: what influences patients' intentions to attend?

Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2014 Aug;13(4):329-37. doi: 10.1177/1474515113496686. Epub 2013 Jul 1.


Background: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programmes have increased their availability and expanded their eligibility criteria. This study sought to identify current predictors and reasons influencing myocardial infarction patients' pre-discharge intentions to attend CR.

Methods: Patients in this longitudinal, prospective, five site study completed questionnaires that surveyed their intentions to attend, attendance and main reasons for non-attendance at CR.

Results: 84% of the 1172 patients indicated that they intended to attend CR. Multivariate analyses revealed that age, employment and earlier history of myocardial infarction were significant predictors of intention to attend CR, yet contributed to only a small proportion of the variance. The main reasons given for not intending to attend CR were lack of interest and perception that the programme would not be beneficial. Other obstacles included work, transport or time. A total of 708 (60%) patients responded at 12 months, and of these, 44% who did not intend to attend CR had attended.

Conclusion: Patient sociodemographic and clinical profile, although significant, are not major predictors of intention to attend CR. Lack of interest and misconceptions regarding CR are cited as key barriers. Some of these seem to have been addressed post discharge as a good proportion of patients who had not intended to attend CR did change their minds and attended. Motivation of patients to participate in CR, including the identification of barriers and the provision of comprehensive information about the purpose and varied formats of CR programmes, could be used to help further address barriers to attendance.

Keywords: Cardiac rehabilitation; attendance; barriers; intentions; participation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / rehabilitation
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies