Cardiac rehabilitation: current situation and future challenges

“Cardiac rehabilitation has a very important, albeit underestimated, effect in cardiology to improve risk factors, symptoms, quality of life, and exercise tolerance, and also to reduce readmissions and to improve prognosis of the patient through its components—physical activity and therapeutic education in particular.1,2

This is why in heart failure, coronary heart disease, or other dis- eases rehabilitation is often recognized by guidelines, with an indication of grade IA.3-5 However, the studies carried out in different European countries show in common that use of rehabilitation remains extremely low compared with what could be expected. For example, after myocardial infarction, the rate, which varies among different European countries, is around 30% in the countries of Western Europe. With regard to heart failure, the rates are much lower, on the order of 10%6.
The obstacles to rehabilitation are well-known7: low number of centers, low financial rewarding, problems due to distance, financial support, and incompatibility with work, social, or professional life. Another obstacle is the ignorance of doctors and the health authorities as to rehabilitation’s value. This issue of Medicographia discusses some of these points, as well as some possible avenues to solutions.”(…)

Medicographia n°138

New opportunities in cardiac rehabilitation