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Cardio4Health Study, a Cardiac Telerehabilitation Pilot Program Aimed at Patients After an Ischemic Event: Cross-sectional Study

HumanInsight Cardio4Health Study, a Cardiac Telerehabilitation Pilot Program Aimed at Patients After an Ischemic Event: Cross-sectional Study

JMIR Cardio. 2023 Apr 24;7:e44179. doi: 10.2196/44179.


BACKGROUND: Center-based cardiac rehabilitation programs (CRPs) reduce morbidity and mortality after an ischemic cardiac event; however, they are widely underused. Home-based CRP has emerged as an alternative to improve patient adherence; however, its safety and efficacy remain unclear, especially for older patients and female patients.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to develop a holistic home-based CRP for patients with ischemic heart disease and evaluate its safety and impact on functional capacity, adherence to a healthy lifestyle, and quality of life.

METHODS: The 8-week home-based CRP included patients of both sexes, with no age limit, who had overcome an acute myocardial infarction in the previous 3 months, had a left ventricular ejection fraction of ≥40%, and had access to a tablet or mobile device. The CRP was developed using a dedicated platform designed explicitly for this purpose and included 3 weekly exercise sessions combining tailored aerobic and strength training and 2 weekly educational session focused on lifestyle habits, therapeutic adherence, and patient empowerment.

RESULTS: We initially included 62 patients, of whom 1 was excluded for presenting with ventricular arrhythmias during the initial stress test, 5 were excluded because of incompatibility, and 6 dropped out because of a technological barrier. Ultimately, 50 patients completed the program: 85% (42/50) were male, with a mean age of 58.9 (SD 10.3) years, a mean left ventricular ejection fraction of 52.1% (SD 6.72%), and 25 (50%) New York Heart Association functional class I and 25 (50%) New York Heart Association II-III. The CRP significantly improved functional capacity (+1.6 metabolic equivalent tasks), muscle strength (arm curl test +15.5% and sit-to-stand test +19.7%), weekly training volume (+803 metabolic equivalent tasks), adherence to the Mediterranean diet, emotional state (anxiety), and quality of life. No major complications occurred, and adherence was excellent (>80%) in both the exercise and educational sessions. In the subgroup analysis, CRP showed equivalent beneficial effects irrespective of sex and age. In addition, patient preferences for CRP approaches were equally distributed, with one-third (14/50, 29%) of the patients preferring a face-to-face CRP, one-third (17/50, 34%) preferring a telematic CRP, and one-third (18/50, 37%) preferring a hybrid approach. Regarding CRP duration, 63% (31/50) of the patients considered it adequate, whereas the remaining 37% (19/50) preferred a longer program.

CONCLUSIONS: A holistic telematic CRP dedicated to patients after an ischemic cardiac event, irrespective of sex and age, is safe and, in our population, has achieved positive results in improving maximal aerobic capacity, weekly training volume, muscle strength, quality of life, compliance with diet, and anxiety symptoms. The preference for a center- or home-based CRP approach is diverse among the study population, emphasizing the need for a tailored CRP to improve adherence and completion rates.

PMID:37093637 | DOI:10.2196/44179

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