Predictors for not completing exercise-based rehabilitation following cardiac surgery

Scand Cardiovasc J. 2013 Dec;47(6):344-51. doi: 10.3109/14017431.2013.859295.


Objectives: The beneficial effects of exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation (ECR) are well documented. A substantial proportion of patients fail to complete ECR. The purpose of this study was to identify factors associated with patients not completing ECR.

Design: Registry based and data from medical records. The study population was surgically treated heart patients with ischaemic and/or heart valve diseases referred to ECR between August 2008 and January 2011 at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. The ECR was an 8-week course with 1-h biweekly sessions. Patients were non-completers when attending ≤ 75% of sessions. Data were analysed in a multivariate logistic regression model.

Results: Of 364 patients, 73% were referred to ECR, 42% did not complete the ECR and 28% never showed up. Readmission within 8 weeks post-discharged odds ratio (OR) of 2.50 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40-4.46), prescribed antidepressant medication OR of 2.40 (95% CI, 1.21-4.74), overweight OR of 1.81 (95% CI, 1.03-3.18), or being single OR of 1.12 (95% CI, 1.07-1.70) was significantly associated with not completing ECR.

Conclusion: We identified a high rate of patients not completing ECR. Readmissions, antidepressant medication, marital status and obesity should warrant clinical attention when designing future interventions to improve adherence to ECR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / rehabilitation*
  • Denmark
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / complications
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Patient Readmission
  • Postoperative Care
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents