Introduction: The aim of this review is to introduce the audience to exercise training (ET) as a therapeutic tool in coronary heart disease (CHD) and to discuss the role of and advances in cardiac rehabilitation (CR) as a means of effectively delivering ET. Areas covered: The physiological mechanisms behind ET effects on the cardiovascular (CV) system as well as the implementation of ET in CR and the effects of CR on CV morbidity, risk factor modification, and mortality will be reviewed. Additionally, the clinical and financial impact of CR in today's healthcare systems will be discussed. Expert opinion: It is well-established that CR continues to be under-utilized despite significant benefits to patients and healthcare systems alike. Innovation in the structure of CR (such as the implementation of high-intensity protocols) and in accessibility (home and tele-health CR programs) is already helping improve efficacy and increase utilization of CR. However, the efficacy of home/remote delivery protocols is not well established and they comprise a minority of available CR services. More data and efforts are needed to improve such protocols and maximize the reach of remote delivery systems in order to effectively deliver CR services to more eligible individuals at lower costs.
Keywords: Cardiac rehabilitation; cardiovascular outcomes; high intensity-intermittent training; mobile health; moderate intensity continuous training; tele-rehabilitation.