Effectiveness of home-based cardiac telerehabilitation as an alternative to Phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation of coronary heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2022 May 25;29(7):1017-1043. doi: 10.1093/eurjpc/zwab106.


Aims: The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic saw the suspension of centre-based cardiac rehabilitation (CBCR) and has underscored the need for home-based cardiac telerehabilitation (HBCTR) as a feasible alternative rehabilitation delivery model. Yet, the effectiveness of HBCTR as an alternative to Phase 2 CBCR is unknown. We aimed to conduct a meta-analysis to quantitatively appraise the effectiveness of HBCTR.

Methods and results: PubMed, EMBASE, CENTRAL, CINAHL, Scopus, and PsycINFO were searched from inception to January 2021. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing HBCTR to Phase 2 CBCR or usual care in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Out of 1588 studies, 14 RCTs involving 2869 CHD patients were included in this review. When compared with usual care, participation in HBCTR showed significant improvement in functional capacity {6-min walking test distance [mean difference (MD) 25.58 m, 95% confidence interval (CI) 14.74-36.42]}; daily step count (MD 1.05 K, 95% CI 0.36-1.75) and exercise habits [odds ratio (OR) 2.28, 95% CI 1.30-4.00)]; depression scores (standardized MD -0.16, 95% CI -0.32 to 0.01) and quality of life [Short-Form mental component summary (MD 2.63, 95% CI 0.06-5.20) and physical component summary (MD 1.99, 95% CI 0.83-3.16)]. Effects on medication adherence were synthesized narratively. HBCTR and CBCR were comparably effective.

Conclusion: In patients with CHD, HBCTR was associated with an increase in functional capacity, physical activity (PA) behaviour, and depression when compared with UC. When HBCTR was compared to CBCR, an equivalent effect on functional capacity, PA behaviour, QoL, medication adherence, smoking behaviour, physiological risk factors, depression, and cardiac-related hospitalization was observed.

Keywords: Cardiac rehabilitation; Coronary heart disease; Home-based; Mobile application; Telerehabilitation; Web-based.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation* / methods
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Coronary Disease* / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease* / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Telerehabilitation* / methods