Health-related quality of life in elderly cardiac patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation and the association with exercise capacity: The EU-CaRE study.

Kjesbu IE; Department of Cardiology, Bispebjerg Frederiksberg University Hospital, Denmark. (also from Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany & France)
Sibilitz KL; Petersen J; Houben VJG; Wilhelm M; Pena-Gil C;Iliou MC; Zeymer U; IArdissino D; Van ‘t Hof AWJ; van der Velde AE;de Kluiver EP; Prescott E;

European journal of preventive cardiology [Eur J Prev Cardiol] 2024 Jun 05.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2024 Jun 05.

Aims: The ability to be physically active is pivotal to the quality of life in elderly patients. This study aims to describe the association between exercise capacity and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), anxiety, and depression following an exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) program in elderly cardiac patients.
Methods: Patients aged ≥65 years with acute and chronic coronary syndrome or heart valve surgery were consecutively included from 8 CR centers in 7 European countries. Exercise capacity (VO2peak(ml/kg/min)) was assessed with a cardiopulmonary exercise test (97%) or a six-minute walk test. Outcome variables included HRQoL (SF-36 physical and mental component scores (PCS and MCS)), anxiety (GAD-7), and depression (PHQ-9). Mixed models were used to address the association between baseline and the development in VO2peak, and outcome variables stratified on sex, and adjusted for baseline values, age, and CR center.
Results: A total of 1,633 patients were included (T0), 1,523 (93%) completed end-of-CR assessment (T1), and 1,457 (89%) 1-year follow-up (T2). Women had higher % of predicted VO2peak, but poorer scores in HRQoL, anxiety and depression at all time-points. All scores improved in both sexes at follow-up. We found significant associations between VO2peak at baseline as well as development in VO2peak and all outcome variables at T1 and T2 in men (all p < 0.001). In women, VO2peak was only associated with PCS scores (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Improvements in exercise capacity was strongly associated with improvements in HRQoL and mental health, however with stronger associations in men. The results highlight the importance of physical fitness for HRQol and mental health. The findings from this study might be useful to better target individual CR programs