The Sustainability of Exercise Capacity Changes in Home Versus Center-Based Cardiac Rehabilitation

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Although participation in either center- or home-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) can improve exercise capacity, the sustainability of this improvement following completion of the CR program is challenging. The purpose of this study was to compare the immediate and 1-year effectiveness of center- versus home-based CR on exercise capacity in cardiac patients who were given the choice of participating in a center-based or home-based CR program.


This was a retrospective study, which relied on the database from a large multidisciplinary CR program. A sample of 3488 cardiac patients participated either in center-based (n = 2803) or home-based (n = 685) CR. Participants underwent exercise testing at baseline, after 12 weeks of CR and again 1 year after completion of the CR programs.


Following CR, exercise capacity (ie, peak metabolic equivalents [METs]) increased significantly in both groups (P < .05). From post-CR to the 1-year followup, exercise capacity remained unchanged in home-based CR participants (P = .183), whereas the center-based CR group demonstrated a decline in exercise capacity (P < .05).


Although at the 1-year followup exercise capacity decreased in the center-based group, the observed decline did not seem to be clinically significant. The present findings indicate that when the patients were given a choice as to the delivery model (center- vs home-based) used for their CR program, they were relatively successful in retaining the improvement in exercise capacity 1 year post-CR irrespective of the exact location for their exercise training.

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