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BACKGROUND: Cardiac rehabilitation has a beneficial effect on the prognosis and quality of life of cardiac patients, and has been found to be cost-effective. This report describes a comprehensive and low cost educational intervention designed to increase the attendance at cardiac rehabilitation programs of patients who have undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgery. METHODS/DESIGN: A controlled prospective intervention trial. The control arm comprised 520 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery between January 2004 and May 2005 in five medical centers across Israel. This group received no additional treatment beyond usual care. The intervention arm comprised 504 patients recruited from the same cardiothoracic departments between June 2005 and November 2006. This group received oral and written explanations about the advantages of participating in cardiac rehabilitation programs and a telephone call two weeks after hospital discharge intended to further encourage their enrollment. The medical staff attended a one-hour seminar on cardiac rehabilitation. In addition, it was recommended that referral to cardiac rehabilitation be added to the letter of discharge from the hospital. Both study groups were interviewed before surgery and one-year post surgery. A one-year post-operative interview assessed factors affecting patient attendance at cardiac rehabilitation programs, as well as the structure and content of the cardiac rehabilitation programs attended. Anthropometric parameters were measured at pre- and post-operative interviews;- and medical information was obtained from patient medical records. The effect of cardiac rehabilitation on one- and three-year mortality was assessed. DISCUSSION: We report a low cost yet comprehensive intervention designed to increase cardiac rehabilitation participation by raising both patient and medical staff awareness to the potential benefits of cardiac rehabilitation. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00356863.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Cardiovasc Disord

Publication Date





Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Coronary Artery Bypass, Coronary Artery Disease, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pamphlets, Patient Compliance, Program Development, Prospective Studies, Referral and Consultation, Reminder Systems, Survival Analysis, Treatment Outcome