Cardiovascular Outcomes of Patients Referred to Home Based Cardiac Rehabilitation

Heart Lung. 2022 Mar-Apr:52:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2021.11.005. Epub 2021 Nov 18.


Background: Home Based Cardiac Rehabilitation (HBCR) has been considered a reasonable alternative to Center-based Cardiac Rehabilitation (CBCR) in patients with established cardiovascular disease, especially in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic. However, the long-term cardiovascular outcomes of patients referred to HBCR remains unknown.

Objectives: To compare outcomes of patients who were referred and attended HBCR vs patients referred but did not attend HBCR (Non-HBCR).

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of 269 patients referred to HBCR at Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center (PVAMC). From November 2017 to March 2020, 427 patients were eligible and referred for Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) at PVAMC. Of total patients, 158 patients were referred to CBCR and 269 patients to HBCR based on patient and/or clinician preference. The analysis of outcomes was focused on HBCR patients. We compared outcomes of patients who were referred and attended HBCR vs patients referred but did not attend HBCR (Non-HBCR) from 3 to 12 months of the referral date. HBCR consisted of face-to-face entry exam with exercise prescription, weekly phone calls for education and exercise monitoring, with adjustments where applicable, for 12-weeks and an exit exam. Primary outcome was composite of all-cause mortality and hospitalizations. Secondary outcomes were all-cause hospitalization, all-cause mortality and cardiovascular hospitalizations, separately. We used cox proportional methods to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% CI. We adjusted for imbalanced characteristics at baseline: smoking, left ventricular ejection fraction and CABG status.

Results: A total of 269 patients (mean age: 72, 98% Male) were referred to HBCR, however, only 157 (58%) patients attended HBCR. The primary outcome occurred in 30 patients (19.1%) in the HBCR group and 30 patients (30%) in the Non-HBCR group (adjusted HR=0.56, CI 0.33-0.95, P=.03). All-cause mortality occurred in 6.4% of patients in the HBCR group and 13% patients in the Non-HBCR group 3 to 12 months after HBCR referral (adjusted HR=0.43, CI 0.18-1.0, P= .05). There was no difference in cardiovascular hospitalizations (HBCR: 5.7% vs Non-HBCR: 10%, adjusted HR 0.57, CI 0.22-1.4, P= .23) or all cause hospitalizations at 3 to 12 months between the groups (HBCR: 12.7% vs Non-HBCR: 21%, adjusted HR 0.53, CI 0.28-1.01, P= .05).

Conclusion: Completion of HBCR among referred patients was associated with a lower risk of the combined all-cause mortality and all-cause hospitalizations up to 12 months. Based on the outcomes, HBCR is a reasonable option that can improve access to CR for patients who are not candidates of or cannot attend CBCR. Randomized-controlled studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Keywords: All cause deaths; All cause hospitalizations; Cardiovascular diseases; Home based cardiac rehabilitation Cardiovascular hospitalizations; Mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Function, Left