Cardiovascular diseases are still the main cause of death in the western world. However, diminishing mortality rates of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) are motivating the need to investigate the process of secondary prevention after AMI. Besides cardiac rehabilitation, disease management programs (DMPs) are an important component of outpatient care after AMI in Germany. This study aims to analyze outcomes after AMI among those who participated in DMPs and cardiac rehabilitation (CR) in a region with overall increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Based on data from a regional myocardial infarction registry and a 2-year follow-up period, we assessed the occurrence of major adverse cardiac events (MACE) in relation to participation in CR and DMP, risk factors for complications and individual healths well as lifestyle characteristics. Multivariable Cox regression was performed to compare survival time between participants and non-participants until an adverse event occurred.
Of 1094 observed patients post-AMI, 272 were enrolled in a DMP. An association between DMP participation and lower hazard rates for MACE compared to non-enrollees could not be proven in the crude model (hazard ratio = 0.93; 95% confidence interval = 0.65-1.33). When adjusted for possible confounding variables, these results remained virtually unchanged (1.03; 0.72-1.48). Furthermore, smokers and obese patients showed a distinctly lower chance of DMP enrollment. In contrast, those who participated in CR showed a lower risk for MACE in crude (0.52; 0.41-0.65) and adjusted analysis (0.56; 0.44-0.71).
Participation in DMP was not associated with a lower risk of MACE, but participation in CR showed beneficial effects. Adjustment only slightly changed effect estimates in both cases, but it is still important to consider potential effects of additional confounding variables.

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