Comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation reduces mortality and morbidity but is utilised by only a fraction of eligible cardiac patients, with the participation rate of women being only about half that of men. This quantitative review assesses 32 studies meeting inclusion criteria, describing 16 804 patients, 5882 of whom were female. It was found that the main predictor of referral to a cardiac rehabilitation programme was the physician’s endorsement of the effectiveness of such a programme. Patients were more likely to participate in rehabilitation programmes when they were actively referred, educated, married, possessed high self efficacy, and when the programmes were easily accessible. Patients were less likely to participate when they had to travel long distances to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation programme, or experienced guilt over family obligations. Women were less often referred and participated less often even after referral. In conclusion, many of the observed predictors, including those particular to women, are potentially modifiable with the help of health professionals.
- cardiac rehabilitation
- predictor variables
- referral rates
- sex differences
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