Background: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, and cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is still not well developed in mainland China. The objective of this study is to investigate the barriers associated with those seeking cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and to explore appropriate secondary prevention modalities tailored to the needs of Chinese patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).
Methods: A consecutive series of eligible patients was recruited from the cardiac department of a teaching hospital in Nanjing, located in southeast China. Structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 328 patients prior to hospital discharge. Patient preferences for seeking an outpatient CR program or an alternative outpatient self-choice, minimal-cost educational program were evaluated. Socio-demographic characteristics and clinical data were assessed. Additionally, patients were asked to provide the reasons affecting their choice.
Results: Overall, only 14.3% patients preferred the standard CR program. Factors associated with non-participating were female gender (odds ratios [ORs], 6.05, 95% CI, 1.30-28.19), older age (ORs, 1.11, 95% CI, 1.04-1.19, per year), less education (ORs, 8.13, 95% CI, 2.83-23.38), low income (ORs, 3.26, 95% CI, 1.24-8.54), and having either basic medical care or a lack of health insurance (ORs, 10.01, 95% CI, 3.90-25.68). The most common reason for refusing to participate in CR was that patients could not afford it. Of the remaining patients, 65.8% patients chose self-choice educational programs, especially for female (ORs, 5.84, 95% CI, 2.67-12.79), older (ORs, 1.06, 95% CI, 1.02-1.11, per year), and low income (ORs, 2.14, 95% CI, 1.12-4.10) patients. The main reasons for their preferences were their desires for more information about disease and risk factors, the low cost, feasibility, and saving time.
Conclusions: Multiple barriers, which may occur at the patient, health system, and societal levels, have prevented eligible patients from participating in CR programs. Self-choice educational programs, an alternative model incorporating more information, would strongly meet the needs of most patients. A feasible delivery format for secondary prevention should be provided for all CHD patients.