Differential impact of a cardiac rehabilitation program in functional parameters according to patient gender.

Vilela EM; Ladeiras-Lopes R; Joao A; Braga J; Torres S; Ribeiro J; Primo J; Fontes-Carvalho R; Campos L; Miranda F; Nunes JP; Teixeira M; Braga P;

American journal of cardiovascular disease [Am J Cardiovasc Dis] 2020 Oct 15; Vol. 10 (4), pp. 367-375. Date of Electronic Publication: 2020 Oct 15 (Print Publication: 2020).

Introduction: Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation (EBCR) programs are of paramount importance in the management of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) survivors. Albeit this, female patients tend to be less referred for these programs, while also having a poorer prognosis. We aimed at assessing the impact of a contemporary EBCR program on functional parameters after an AMI, and specifically the impact of gender on its potential benefits.
Methods: Observational, retrospective cohort study including all patients admitted to a tertiary center due to an AMI who completed a phase II EBCR program after discharge, between November 2012 and April 2017. Functional parameters were assessed by a symptom-limited cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET). Patients were dichotomized according to gender.
Results: A total of 379 patients were included, 19% of whom were women. After the program, peak oxygen uptake (pVO2) and exercise duration increased significantly (P<0.001). Though female patients presented a lower pVO2 and completed a shorter CPET at both the beginning and end of the study, there were no differences in the magnitude of improvement in these parameters between both groups [pVO2 delta 1.37 ± 3.08 vs 1.31 ± 2.62 mL/kg/min, P=0.876; CPET duratio n delta 120 (60-167) vs 85 (60-146), P=0.176].
Conclusions: A contemporary EBCR program was associated with significant improvements in functional parameters, as assessed by CPET. Though female patients had lower levels of pVO2, the benefits of this program were similar among groups. These results highlight the importance of EBCR among this higher risk subset of patients.