Does service timing matter for psychological outcomes in cardiac rehabilitation? Insights from the National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation

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Abstract

Background

The presence of mental health conditions in cardiac rehabilitation (CR) patients such as anxiety and depression can lead to reduced programme adherence, increased mortality and increased re-occurrence of cardiovascular events undermining the aims and benefit of CR. Earlier research has identified a relationship between delayed commencement of CR and poorer physical activity outcomes. This study wished to explore whether a similar relationship between CR wait time and mental health outcomes can be found and to what degree participation in CR varies by mental health status.

Methods

Data from the UK National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation, a dataset that captures information on routine CR practice and patient outcomes, was extracted between 2012 and 2016. Logistic and multinomial regression models were used to explore the relationship between timing of CR and mental health outcomes measured on the hospital anxiety and depression scale.

Results

The results of this study showed participation in CR varied by mental health status, particularly in relation to completion of CR, with a higher proportion of non-completers with symptoms of anxiety (5% higher) and symptoms of depression (8% higher). Regression analyses also revealed that delays to CR commencement significantly impact mental health outcomes post-CR.

Conclusion

In these analyses CR wait time has been shown to predict the outcome of anxiety and depression status to the extent that delays in starting CR are detrimental. Programmes falling outside the 4-week window for commencement of CR following referral must strive to reduce wait times to avoid negative impacts to patient outcome.

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