Quality of life following cardiac rehabilitation in cardiac surgery patients

Ernest Christian Lourens, Robert Ashley Baker, Bronwyn M. Krieg

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Background: Undergoing cardiac surgery often result in perioperative loss of health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Although participation rates in Australia is low, cardiac rehabilitation (CR) has been demonstrated to improve patient HRQOL in cardiac patients. Literature is unclear regarding the role of CR and HRQOL in the cardiac surgery (CS) patient population. Methods: A prospective non-randomised study was conducted on eligible cardiac surgery patients between December 2009 and March 2015. HRQOL was assessed using the Short Form 12 at baseline and post-operatively at 30 days and 180 days. CR participation was recorded and barriers to CR uptake was assessed using the Cardiac Rehabilitation Enrolment Obstacles (CREO) scale. Results: At 180 days, 107 patients participated in CR and 111 did not participate in CR. A significant improvement from baseline mental and physical HRQOL was observed in both groups at 30 days and 180 days (p < 0.002). No significant difference between group characteristics or HRQOL was observed at any time. A trend of superior improvement in mental QOL was observed in the CR group. The study is limited by poor initial uptake (218/1772 of eligible) and may be underpowered to observe a clinical difference. A significant difference in CREO scores were observed between the two groups at 30 days (13 out of 16 questions, p < 0.001) and 180 days (11 out of 16 questions, p < 0.011). Conclusion: Literature has shown that CR may improve numerous health outcomes in cardiac and CS patients, however CR uptake in Australia is low. Mental and Physical QOL is demonstrated to improve following CS, however further research is required to delineate the role of CR and QOL in CS patients. The CREO tool utilised in this study identified numerous potentially modifiable barriers to CR uptake. Specific strategies related to the survey are suggested to improve awareness, uptake, and adherence to CR, including advocacy of home-based and telehealth services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Barriers to uptake
  • CABG
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Cardiac surgery
  • Coronary artery bypass graft
  • Health-related quality of life


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