Part of the work included in this article was presented at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology in Amsterdam, 2013.
Adherence to medical advice, driven by high patient motivation, could lead to a significant reduction in risk factors during cardiac rehabilitation.
During a 1-year period, 9082 patients were admitted to six cardiac rehabilitation centres. A total of 1195 highly motivated subjects were selected based on their reliable completion of a survey regarding cardiac risk factors.
Study subjects had lower risk factors at baseline compared with a contemporary Austrian database. At discharge from the rehabilitation programme subjects showed further reductions in median weight, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure and resting pulse rate (due to increased levels of daily exercise). Smoking also decreased. Most of these changes were still significant after 1 year.
The risk factors in these highly motivated patients were low to begin with and were further reduced by an inpatient rehabilitation programme. The content and method of delivery of this programme seem to be effective. Efforts should focus on increasing motivation.