Predictors of cardiac rehabilitation participation: Opportunities to increase enrollment

Sherrie Khadanga, Patrick D. Savage, Diann E. Gaalema, Philip A. Ades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose: Participation in cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is low despite proven benefits. The aim of this study was to assess medical, psychosocial, and behavioral predictors of participation in a phase 2 CR. Methods: This was a prospective observational study. Participants hospitalized for an acute cardiac event and eligible for CR completed in-hospital assessments, and the primary outcome was CR participation over a 4-mo follow-up. Measures included age, sex, educational attainment, smoking status, medical diagnosis, ejection fraction, and electronic referral to CR. Data included General Anxiety Disorder, Patient Health Questionnaire, Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36, Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function, and Duke Social Support Index. Logistic regression and Classification and Regression Tree analysis were performed. Results: Of 378 hospitalized patients approached, 294 (31% females) enrolled in the study and 175 participated in CR. The presence of electronic referral, surgical diagnosis, non/former smoker, and strength of physician recommendation (all Ps < .02) were independent predictors for CR participation. No differences were seen in participation by measures of anxiety, depression, or executive function. Males with a profile of electronic referral to CR, high school or higher education, ejection fraction >50%, and strong physician recommendation were the most likely cohort to participate in CR (89%). Patients not referred to CR were the least likely to attend (20%). Conclusions: Lack of CR referral, lower educational attainment, nonsurgical diagnosis, current smoking, and reduced ejection fraction can predict patients at a highest risk of CR nonparticipation. Specific interventions such as electronic referral and a strong in-person recommendation from a medical provider may enhance CR participation rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-327
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Secondary prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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