Not Enough Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs Globally

A new study has determined that globally, there are not enough cardiac rehabilitation programs to meet the needs of heart disease patients. 

How many people need Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Throughout the world, it is estimated that there are 20 million people who would benefit from cardiac rehabilitation. This number includes people who have had a cardiac incident or other indicators of heart disease. 

According to the study, programs are only available for approximately 1 out of every 12 candidates, or 1.65 million people, leaving 18 million people at risk of heart attack. The high rate of efficacy from cardiac rehabilitation means that without access to it, some of these people will die.

What is cardiac rehabilitation?

The program is a structured set of workshops and classes that educate patients about how to control their heart issues, stay healthy, and avoid heart attack. The classes teach proper nutrition, exercise, and overall health management. Patients are meant to come out with tools to reduce the stress in their lives and be able to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Besides medication, lifestyle changes are the only way to get heart disease under control.

How the study worked

58 investigators were sent to work on gathering data for the massive, global collection, sponsored by the International Council of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation. The results were published in Lancet family today’s eJournal, EClinicalMedicine. The researchers spoke to representatives from the almost 200 countries in the world, and found that there are programs in only 55% of the world’s countries. Of those countries, 93 responded with information about their programs, and the researchers spoke with almost all of the 6,000 programs worldwide. The message they gave was that they were not treating nearly as many patients as needed the rehab, and it was mostly an issue of resources. 

Canada came in as one of the countries with the most spots, yet still had no programs in the territories, only in the provinces, and only had a spot per 4 and a half people who needed it. 

China, India, and Russia came in as the countries with the greatest needs, with so many million inhabitants and generally poorer resources. And their numbers are expected to keep increasing. 

Other important findings

Based on the surveys of the programs, the researchers found that overall programs are of a high standard, and they have many participants who have other chronic conditions that benefit from a cardiac rehabilitation program. 

The research team’s goal is advocacy for greater public and government resources to meet the demands of the people who need this life-saving treatments. Lead investigator Sherry Grace, who is a professor at York University, said “Almost half of countries around the globe have absolutely no cardiac rehab. People are dying unnecessarily without these programs.” She offered an innovative solution, already offered in 38 countries: online rehab. Using today’s technology, patients can take advantage of the lectures and information given over in a typical real-life cardiac rehabilitation program from the comfort of their own homes, at a greater affordability for program developers.

At Sinai Post Acute Care Center for Rehabilitation in Newark, New Jersey, we offer premium cardiac rehabilitation services for patients who have heart disease and other chronic conditions that affect the heart and that benefit from a cardiac rehab program.