Purpose: Most cardiac rehabilitation (CR) completers improve in multiple functional and psychosocial domains. However, not all demonstrate uniform improvement in functional indicators such as exercise capacity. This study examined baseline predictors and correlates of change in exercise capacity from CR intake to completion.
Methods: CR participants (n = 488) completed assessment of metabolic equivalents (METs) via treadmill stress test, depressive symptoms, quality of life, and social support at intake and discharge. Associations between demographic, clinical, and psychosocial factors and MET changes was tested with linear regression.
Results: METs increased from intake to discharge (1.91 ± 1.48, p < .001). Younger age (p < .001), lower BMI (p < .001), and lower weight (p < .01) were associated with greater MET change. Greater percentage weight loss (p < .05), and self-reported improvements in physical functioning (p < .001) and bodily pain (p < .01) were concurrently related to MET change.
Conclusions: Older CR attendees and those with higher baseline BMI may benefit from tailored intervention to ensure maximum benefit in exercise capacity.
Keywords: Cardiac rehabilitation; Exercise capacity; Metabolic equivalents.
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