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Medical News and Perspectives
November 14, 2007

Groups Publish Performance Measures Aimed at Boosting Cardiac Rehab Referrals

JAMA. 2007;298(18):2126-2128. doi:10.1001/jama.298.18.2126

Experts hope publication of a new set of performance measures will galvanize physicians and hospitals to routinely refer appropriate patients for cardiac rehabilitation, an intervention that is strikingly underused despite its proven benefits.

Studies show that for patients who have had a cardiovascular event or procedure, cardiac rehabilitation—medically supervised exercise, nutritional counseling, and education and support aimed at helping patients modify risk factors (such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels)—reduces the risk of new cardiovascular complications at rates equivalent to routinely prescribed medical therapies. Despite this benefit, less than 30% of the eligible population engage in cardiac rehabilitation. The percentages are even lower (13.9%) for patients older than 65 years who are hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction—arguably a population that needs even more intensive rehabilitation.

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