(HealthDay News) — Cardiac rehabilitation programs are considered a key part of recovering from acute myocardial infarction (MI) — but only a small minority of patients ever attend one, according to a research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Jacob Doll, MD, the lead researcher on the study and a fellow at the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues examined records from 58,269 Medicare patients who were hospitalized for acute MI between 2007 and 2010.
The researchers found that 62.4% of patients were referred to cardiac rehab when they were discharged from the hospital, but only 32.6% of those patients went. Those who did go were slightly younger and tended to have fewer baseline comorbidities.
“Our findings imply that referral isn’t enough,” Doll told HealthDay. “For many patients, attending cardiac rehab may be too expensive or inconvenient. Others may not understand the importance of cardiac rehab, despite being referred.”
Two authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.