Cardiac Rehabilitation Utilization during an Acute Cardiac Hospitalization: A NATIONAL SAMPLE

Quinn R. Pack*, Aruna Priya, Tara Lagu, Penelope S. Pekow, Robert Berry, Auras R. Atreya, Philip A. Ades, Peter K. Lindenauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Inpatient cardiac rehabilitation (ICR) programs provide important services to hospitalized patients by delivering risk factor education, daily ambulation, and facilitation of referral to outpatient cardiac rehabilitation. However, little is known about ICR utilization or practice patterns. Methods: We examined the use of ICR, between January 2007 and June 2011, in a geographically and structurally diverse sample of US hospitals (Premier, Inc). Results: Among 458 hospitals, there were 1 343 537 admissions with a qualifying diagnosis for outpatient cardiac rehabilitation. Formal ICR was available at 223 (49%) of these hospitals. Overall, patient utilization of ICR was low (21.2%) and varied by indication. Utilization was highest in those undergoing cardiac surgery (43.3%) and lowest in patients with medically managed myocardial infarction (15.6%) or heart failure (10.6%). A larger bed count, the presence of cardiac interventional services, and Midwest location were associated with increased likelihood of a hospital having an ICR program. In multivariable hierarchical analysis adjusting for known hospital characteristics among hospitals that provided ICR, multiple patient factors were associated with a lower likelihood of ICR utilization, including older age, more comorbidities, female sex, and Medicare insurance, but unspecified hospital characteristics explained the vast majority of the variability. Conclusions: We found substantial variation in the delivery of ICR across US hospitals and by patient condition. Overall, only a minority of eligible patients ever received ICR and fewer than half of hospitals treating cardiac patients provided formal ICR services. This substantial gap in the secondary prevention of heart disease warrants further investigation and intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • cardiac rehabilitation
  • epidemiology
  • inpatient
  • phase 1
  • utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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