Background: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is recommended as an important component of a comprehensive approach to cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients. Data have shown that a small percentage of eligible patients participate in CR despite their well established benefits. Applying telerehabilitation provides an opportunity to improve the implementation of and adherence to CR. The purpose of the study was to evaluate a wide implementation and feasibility of home-based cardiac telerehabilitation (HTCR) in patients suffering from CVD and to assessits safety, patients' acceptance of and adherence to HTCR.
Methods: The study included 365 patients (left ventricular ejection fraction 56 ± 8%; aged 58 ± 10 years). They participated in 4-week HTCR based on walking, nordic walking or cycloergometer training. HTCR was telemonitored with a device adjusted to register electrocardiogram (ECG) recording and to transmit data via mobile phone to the monitoring center. The moments of automatic ECG registration were pre-set and coordinated with CR. The influence on physical capacity was assessed by comparing changes - in time of exercise test, functional capacity, 6-min walking test distance from the beginning and the end of HTCR. At the end of the study, patients filled in a questionnaire in order to assess their acceptance of HTCR.
Results: HTCR resulted in a significant improvement in all parameters. There were neither deaths nor adverse events during HTCR. Patients accepted HTCR, including the need for interactive everyday collaboration with the monitoring center. There were only 0.8% non-adherent patients.
Conclusions: HTCR is a feasible, safe form of rehabilitation, well accepted by patients. The adherence to HTCR was high and promising.