According to a study, cardiac rehabilitation can reduce 5-year mortality in older patients with coronary artery disease by as much as 34%.

According to a report, the randomized controlled trials data and meta-analyses concluded that cardiac rehabilitation can improve survival with coronary disease. The conclusion is based on study populations who are primarily middle-aged, low- or moderate-risk, white men.

Dr. Jose A. Suaya, from Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, and colleagues conducted a study to assess the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation in an older, more diverse population. They analyzed data from 601,099 US Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized for heart disease or a revascularization procedure. Mortality rates were compared in cardiac rehabilitation users and nonusers at 1 and 5 years.

The report showed only 12.2% of subjects used cardiac rehabilitation and the average number of sessions was 24.

Cardiac rehabilitation, depending on the analysis method, reduced 5-year mortality by 21% to 34%. In addition, all demographic and clinical subgroups of patients, including those with MI, those who underwent revascularization, and those with heart failure showed apparent survival benefit.

After final analysis, subjects who underwent 25 or more sessions of cardiac rehabilitation were 19% less likely to die over 5 years than matched users who completed fewer sessions (p < 0.001).

Our study provides strong support for the concept that cardiac rehabilitation participation decreases mortality in older patients as has been demonstrated in younger patients in randomized controlled trials, the authors conclude.