Washington, Mar 19 (IANS): Researchers have found that cardiac rehabilitation is associated with significantly reduced mortality rates for patients who have had stents placed to treat blockages in coronary arteries.
The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta in the US, found that patients who had coronary angioplasty and participated in a cardiac rehabilitation programme had a 45-47 percent decrease in mortality.
This was compared to those who did not participate in a cardiac rehabilitation programme.
"Patients need to know that once they've had a coronary artery stent placed, they are not cured," says Randal Thomas, a preventive cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "Participation in a cardiac rehabilitation programme will improve their health outcomes and quality of life."
The study is one of very few that has looked at mortality rates after coronary angioplasty.
The research team examined the records from a special database of 2,351 Mayo Clinic patients who underwent coronary angioplasty between 1994 and 2008. The overall participation rate in cardiac rehabilitation was 40 percent. Individual patients were followed for an average of six years.
In cardiac rehabilitation programmes, patients exercise rigorously and get help in controlling risk factors. This leads to health benefits that are evident within the first year, and grow even larger over the long term.
"Cardiac rehabilitation is like a life raft to carry them (heart procedure patients) through the turbulent white water of cardiac trouble," Thomas says. "It's very important that they participate in such a programme."