Marital status is associated with prognosis in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the influence of partners on successful modification of lifestyle-related risk factors (LRFs) in secondary CVD prevention is unclear. Therefore, we studied the association between the presence of a partner, partner participation in lifestyle interventions and LRF modification in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).
In a secondary analysis of the RESPONSE-2 trial (n = 711), which compared nurse-coordinated referral to community-based lifestyle programs (smoking cessation, weight reduction and/or physical activity) to usual care in patients with CAD, we investigated the association between the presence of a partner and the level of partner participation on improvement in >1 LRF (urinary cotinine <200 ng/l, ≥5% weight reduction, ≥10% increased 6-min walking distance) without deterioration in other LRFs at 12 months follow-up.
The proportion of patients with a partner was 80% (571/711); 19% women (108/571). In the intervention group, 48% (141/293) had a participating partner in ≥1 lifestyle program. Overall, the presence of a partner was associated with patients’ successful LRF modification (adjusted risk ratio (aRR) 1.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.40-2.51). A participating partner was associated with successful weight reduction (aRR 1.73, 95% CI 1.15-2.35).
The presence of a partner is associated with LRF improvement in patients with CAD. Moreover, patients with partners participating in lifestyle programs are more successful in reducing weight. Involving partners of CAD patients in weight reduction interventions should be considered in routine practice.

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