Heart Patients From Poor Neighborhoods Less Likely to Get Cardiac Rehab

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who live in distressed or disadvantaged communities are less likely to attend cardiac rehabilitation after common heart procedures, new research shows.

The study looked at Medicare beneficiaries' attendance at these medically supervised exercise and education programs after coronary revascularization between 2016 and 2018.

Coronary revascularization includes procedures to improve blood flow to the heart, and can involve bypass surgery or receiving a stent to keep arteries open, according to the American College of Cardiology.

The authors identified disadvantaged communities using a tool called the Distressed Community Index. It analyzes economic well-being and social determinants of health, such as educational disparities and poverty rate.

In all, only 26% of patients from distressed communities use cardiac rehab, the research showed. That compared to 46% of patients from wealthier areas.

No matter where they lived, any patient who attended cardiac rehab had a reduced risk of premature death, hospitalization and heart attack, the study found.

“Addressing barriers to participation in cardiac rehabilitation in distressed communities may improve outcomes for these patients and reduce longstanding disparities in such outcomes,” said first author Michael Thompson, an assistant professor of cardiac surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School.

“While some individuals who face geographic barriers to participation may benefit from transportation services or virtual options for cardiac rehab, there is a critical need to address socioeconomic barriers that prevent so many patients from attending this lifesaving therapy,” he said in a Michigan Medicine news release.

Study findings were recently published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

More information

The American College of Cardiology has more on coronary revascularization.

SOURCE: Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan, news release, Oct. 24, 2023

What This Means For You

Medically supervised rehab programs improve outcomes after common heart procedures.

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