This study states that Cardiologist William Kraus, MD, distinguished university professor at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, and his colleagues ran a pilot study of a mobile technology–based cardiac rehabilitation program between March and June 2020. The program, which was in the works before the pandemic, was designed to be as similar to in-center cardiac rehabilitation as possible. The pilot’s 20 participants had 2 onsite visits for an evaluation and a trial run of exercising with a wearable heart rate monitor and activity tracker. After that, patients exercised at home, starting with a 5-minute video consultation with an exercise physiologist, tracked heart rate and activity with a wearable monitor, and used a Bluetooth ECG rhythm strip to share data with Kraus. Data are still being analyzed, but the response from participants was positive.

“They felt that it helped keep them out of the hospital; they felt more self-empowered on their own health,” said Kraus, who is working toward a multicenter trial. Kraus and others experimenting with home-based alternatives say the need predates pandemic social distancing, with only ≈1 in 4 eligible patients participating in cardiac rehabilitation before the pandemic, according to a recent study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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