According to an upcoming report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, cardiac rehabilitation saves lives, but too few people enroll in this critical intervention.
The American Heart Association advises that nearly 2.5 million Americans should be receiving cardiac rehab each year. This includes nearly one million people who have undergone angioplasty (also known as PCI), half a million with a new diagnosis of heart failure, and nearly three quarters of a million people who were hospitalized for acute coronary syndrome, an umbrella term that includes heart attacks.
The report states that cardiac rehab improves quality of life, allows for more rapid recovery, and reduces mortality and the risk of a second heart attack in those who have already had a heart attack. The report also cites studies showing that participation in cardiac rehab reduces hospital readmission by 20 to 30% in the year after a cardiac event.
With such impressive results, one would think the cardiac rehab is standard follow-up for those with cardiac conditions. But it is not. Referrals to cardiac rehab are as low as 12% for patients discharged from the hospital with rehab-qualifying conditions.
If the rate of enrollment in cardiac rehab was even 70%, the report estimates that 25,000 deaths and 180,000 hospitalizations could be avoided each year.
The report encourages enrolling in cardiac rehab within the first 21 days after a cardiac incident, and attending at least 36 sessions to maximize the benefits of the program.
It also points out that a program in which the referring health care provider is in communication with the rehab facility, as is the standard at Hamilton Grove Health Care and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, is something that all cardiac rehab programs “are encouraged to ideally achieve.”
If you or a loved one has had a cardiac event, be sure to maximize the chance of full recovery. Contact Hamilton Grove by clicking here to find out how.