Women-Only Cardiac Rehab May Be Beneficial for Women

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Women-only cardiac rehab programs may have behavioral and psychosocial advantages for women.
Women-only cardiac rehab programs may have behavioral and psychosocial advantages for women.

(HealthDay News) — Women-only cardiac rehabilitation programs may confer behavioral and psychosocial advantages for women, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Liz Midence, from York University in Toronto, and colleagues examined whether participation in women-only cardiac rehab results in better outcomes than other models. Low-risk cardiac patients were recruited and surveyed regarding their health behaviors and psychosocial well-being. A total of 169 eligible participants were randomly allocated to mixed-sex, women-only, or home-based cardiac rehab; 116 patients were retained.

The researchers found that women in mixed-sex and women-only cardiac rehab groups had increased self-reported physical activity (per protocol and as treated, P<.05), and improvement in quality of life (per protocol and as treated, P<.05). Women in the women-only cardiac rehab group had improvement in diet (as treated, P<.05). 

Compared with women in the women-only cardiac rehab group, women in the mixed-sex cardiac rehab group had higher anxiety symptoms (per protocol, P=.017) and higher depressive symptoms (as treated, P=.001). 

After adjustment for confounding variables there were no significant differences in any outcome by model.

"Behavioral and psychosocial outcomes were largely equivalent regardless of model; however, women-only programs may confer an advantage for anxiety and depressive symptoms," the researchers wrote.


  1. Midence L, Arthur HM, Oh P, Stewart DE, Grace SL. Women's Health Behaviours and Psychosocial Well-Being by Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Model: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Can J Cardiol. 2016. doi:10.1016/j.cjca.2015.10.007.
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