Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) after hospitalization for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) has shown to reduce mortality, readmissions, and improve quality of life. CR is recommended by international guidelines but previous studies have shown low participation rates. Systematic CR referral might improve CR participation.
The present study evaluates CR referral and CR participation of patients hospitalized for ACS in 2017 and treated according to local protocol, which includes systematic CR referral. Participation rate was divided into a group that finished the CR program and drop outs. In addition, factors associated with CR referral and participation rate were evaluated.
A total of 469 patients eligible for CR were included in the study, of which 377 (80%) were referred for CR and 353 (75%) participated in CR. Ninety percent of participants completed the CR program. Factors independently associated with CR referral included age (50-60 year vs. > 70 year: odds ratio [OR] 4.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.98-11.2), diagnosis (ST-elevation myocardial infarction vs. unstable angina: OR 17.7, CI 7.59-41.7), previous cardiovascular disease (OR 0.4, CI 0.19-0.73) and left ventricular dysfunction vs. normal function (OR 2.2, CI 1.11-4.52). A larger distance to the CR center was associated with lower CR participation ( 20 km: OR 3.1, CI 1.20-7.72).
Systematic CR referral in ACS patients results in high CR referral (80%) and participation (75%) rates. CR adherence might be further improved by increasing CR referral, especially in older patients and patients with NSTEMI or unstable angina.

© 2021 The Authors.