Article

A systematic review of economic evaluations of cardiac rehabilitation.

Academic Programmes Division, Singapore Institute of Technology, 25 North Bridge Road, Singapore, Singapore. .
BMC Health Services Research (Impact Factor: 1.77). 08/2012; 12:243. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-12-243
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cardiac rehabilitation (CR), a multidisciplinary program consisting of exercise, risk factor modification and psychosocial intervention, forms an integral part of managing patients after myocardial infarction (MI), revascularization surgery and percutaneous coronary interventions, as well as patients with heart failure (HF). This systematic review seeks to examine the cost-effectiveness of CR for patients with MI or HF and inform policy makers in Singapore on published cost-effectiveness studies on CR.
Electronic databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE, NHS EED, PEDro, CINAHL) were searched from inception to May 2010 for published economic studies. Additional references were identified through searching bibliographies of included studies. Two independent reviewers selected eligible publications based on the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Quality assessment of economic evaluations was undertaken using Drummond's checklist.
A total of 22 articles were selected for review. However five articles were further excluded because they were cost-minimization analyses, whilst one included patients with stroke. Of the final 16 articles, one article addressed both centre-based cardiac rehabilitation versus no rehabilitation, as well as home-based cardiac rehabilitation versus no rehabilitation. Therefore, nine studies compared cost-effectiveness between centre-based supervised CR and no CR; three studies examined that between centre- and home based CR; one between inpatient and outpatient CR; and four between home-based CR and no CR. These studies were characterized by differences in the study perspectives, economic study designs and time frames, as well as variability in clinical data and assumptions made on costs. Overall, the studies suggested that: (1) supervised centre-based CR was highly cost-effective and the dominant strategy when compared to no CR; (2) home-based CR was no different from centre-based CR; (3) no difference existed between inpatient and outpatient CR; and (4) home-based programs were generally cost-saving compared to no CR.
Overall, all the studies supported the implementation of CR for MI and HF. However, comparison across studies highlighted wide variability of CR program design and delivery. Policy makers need to exercise caution when generalizing these findings to the Singapore context.

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    ABSTRACT: Physical training has beneficial effects on exercise capacity, quality of life and mortality in patients after a cardiac event or intervention and is therefore a core component of cardiac rehabilitation. However, cardiac rehabilitation uptake is low and effects tend to decrease after the initial rehabilitation period. Home-based training has the potential to increase cardiac rehabilitation uptake, and was shown to be safe and effective in improving short-term exercise capacity. Long-term effects on physical fitness and activity, however, are disappointing. Therefore, we propose a novel strategy using telemonitoring guidance based on objective training data acquired during exercise at home. In this way, we aim to improve self-management skills like self-efficacy and action planning for independent exercise and, consequently, improve long-term effectiveness with respect to physical fitness and physical activity. In addition, we aim to compare costs of this strategy with centre-based cardiac rehabilitation.Methods/design: This randomized controlled trial compares a 12-week telemonitoring guided home-based training program with a regular, 12-week centre-based training program of equal duration and training intensity in low to moderate risk patients entering cardiac rehabilitation after an acute coronary syndrome or cardiac intervention. The home-based group receives three supervised training sessions before they commence training with a heart rate monitor in their home environment. Participants are instructed to train at 70-85% of their maximal heart rate for 45--60 minutes, twice a week. Patients receive individual coaching by telephone once a week, based on measured heart rate data that are shared through the internet. Primary endpoints are physical fitness and physical activity, assessed at baseline, after 12 weeks and after one year. Physical fitness is expressed as peak oxygen uptake, assessed by symptom limited exercise testing with gas exchange analysis; physical activity is expressed as physical activity energy expenditure, assessed by tri-axial accelerometry and heart rate measurements. Secondary endpoints are training adherence, quality of life, patient satisfaction and cost-effectiveness. This study will increase insight in long-term effectiveness and costs of home-based cardiac rehabilitation with telemonitoring guidance. This strategy is in line with the trend to shift non-complex healthcare services towards patients' home environments.Trial registration: Dutch Trial Register: NTR3780. Clinicaltrials.gov register: NCT01732419.
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Wai Pong Wong