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Izawa KP, Yamada S, Oka K, Watanabe S, Omiya K, Iijima S, Hirano Y, Kobayashi T, Kasahara Y, Samejima H, Osada N: Long-term exercise maintenance, physical activity, and health-related quality of life after cardiac rehabilitation. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2004;83:884–892.The purpose of this study was to determine exercise maintenance rate, leisure-time objective physical activity level, and health-related quality of life in relation to exercise maintenance over the 6-mo period after a supervised 5-mo recovery-phase cardiac rehabilitation program in acute myocardial infarction patients. The study also investigated whether exercise maintenance resulted in reproducible health-related quality-of-life outcomes comparable with those of the Japanese normal population.This observational study comprised 109 acute myocardial infarction patients (89 men, 20 women; mean age, 63.5 ± 10.1 yrs). Physiologic outcomes (peak oxygen uptake, handgrip, and knee-extension strength) measured at 1 and 6 mos after acute myocardial infarction onset were compared. Completed exercise maintenance and health-related quality-of-life questionnaires and results of electronic pedometer recordings to evaluate leisure-time objective physical activity level were assessed 6 mos after cardiac rehabilitation.The mean period from acute myocardial infarction to evaluation of outcomes was 18.8 ± 3.4 mos. Ninety of 109 patients (82.6%) continued exercise for >6 mos after cardiac rehabilitation (exercise group); 19 patients (17.4%) quit exercise after cardiac rehabilitation (nonexercise group). Improvement in physiologic outcomes was noted at 6 mos vs. those at 1 mo, but outcomes were not significantly different between groups. The exercise group performed significantly better than the nonexercise group for leisure-time objective physical activity level and scored significantly higher than the nonexercise group for seven of eight health-related quality of life measures, attaining scores similar to those of the Japanese normal population.At >18 mos after acute myocardial infarction, the exercise maintenance rate in our patients remains high, and exercise maintenance may be one of the factors contributing to improvement of health-related quality of life and leisure-time objective physical activity level.