Randomized clinical trials of cardiac rehabilitation following myocardial infarction have typically demonstrated a lower mortality in treated patients, but with a statistically significant reduction in only one trial. To overcome the problem of not being able to detect small but clinically important benefits in mortality in randomized clinical trials of exercise and risk factor rehabilitation after myocardial infarction with small numbers of patients, we carried out a meta-analysis on the combined results of ten randomized clinical trials that included 4347 patients (control, 2145 patients; rehabilitation, 2202 patients). The pooled odds ratios of 0.76 (95% confidence intervals, 0.63 to 0.92) for all-cause death and of 0.75 (95% confidence intervals, 0.62 to 0.93) for cardiovascular death were significantly lower in the rehabilitation group than in the control group, with no significant difference for nonfatal recurrent myocardial infarction. These results suggest that, for appropriately selected patients, comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation has a beneficial effect on mortality but not on nonfatal recurrent myocardial infarction.
Oldridge NB, Guyatt GH, Fischer ME, Rimm AA. Cardiac Rehabilitation After Myocardial InfarctionCombined Experience of Randomized Clinical Trials. JAMA. 1988;260(7):945-950. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410070073031