Just 10% sent to rehabilitation programs although it helps greatly
There is strong evidence that cardiac rehabilitation therapy improves heart failure patients' quality of life and reduces their risk of hospitalization, the researchers noted. The programs include exercise training, education on heart-healthy living and counseling.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 100,000 heart failure patients in the United States who were discharged from hospitals between 2005 and 2014 and were eligible for cardiac rehabilitation programs.
Overall, slightly more than 10 percent of the patients were referred for rehabilitation when they left the hospital. Referral rates did increase during the study period, but remained low.
Younger patients and men were more likely to be referred for rehabilitation than older patients and women. Those who received referrals were also more likely to be prescribed recommended heart failure medications when they left the hospital.
Doctors who are more likely to incorporate state-of-the-art therapies to manage heart failure patients are also more apt to refer them to rehabilitation programs.