WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – September 3, 2013 – It may seem like a no-brainer, enrolling in a therapy program that could help prolong your life, reduce the risk of a hospital readmission and even enrich your quality of life. However, you have to know to ask for it. Despite being covered by most insurance companies following a serious cardiac event, only about 25 percent of patients who are eligible for outpatient cardiac rehabilitation actually enroll.
For years, credible healthcare organizations have been researching the benefits of outpatient cardiac rehab. In fact, according to a 2011 study by the Mayo Clinic that looked at more than 2,000 patients who underwent angioplasties (a surgical procedure to remove a blocked artery) over a 15-year period, found that those who participated in cardiac rehabilitation were almost 50 percent less likely to die within six years than those who did not have cardiac rehab. Most recently, similar beneficial results have been published for reduced patient mortality following Coronary Bypass Graft Surgery.
While the foundation of outpatient cardiac rehabilitation programs are based on physician supervised exercise training, comprehensive programs generally include components such as patient education for risk reduction, nutrition counseling, stress reduction and help to quit smoking, if necessary. Programs are designed to meet the individual needs of the patient. Generally, outpatient cardiac rehab last approximately twelve weeks while patients generally attend three 1-hour sessions per week. Medicare and most commercial health insurance plans cover cardiac rehabilitation yet it's estimated that only one in four eligible patients actually get it.
Based on numerous scientific studies, it is generally accepted today by the medical community that for patients who have experienced major cardiac event such as myocardial infarction (heart attack); angina heart failure; coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery; coronary angioplasty and stenting; cardiac valve repair or replacement can lead longer, fuller and especially healthier lives if they enroll in a cardiac rehabilitation program.
According to Murray Low, Ed.D., FAACVPR, FACSM, director of Burke Rehabilitation Hospital’s Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, “If more people took advantage of outpatient cardiac rehab after experiencing a cardiac episode, mortality and morbidity could be greatly reduced. The issue is that patients simply do not fully grasp the enormous potential benefits of attending this type of lifestyle altering therapy after they are discharged from the hospital. At Burke, community education is a big part of our mission and those who want to know more about this type of rehabilitation can call us whether they choose to come here or not.” For more information about Burke’s outpatient cardiac rehab program or for general questions about cardiac rehabilitation, please call (914) 597-2802 or visit www.burke.org/outpatient.
Burke Rehabilitation Hospital is a private, not-for-profit, acute rehabilitation hospital. Founded in 1915, it is the only hospital in Westchester County dedicated solely to rehabilitation medicine. Burke offers both inpatient and outpatient programs for those who have experienced a disabling illness, traumatic injury or joint replacement surgery. Burke is both an acute rehabilitation hospital and medical research center. Burke’s world renowned doctors and therapists provide state-of-the-art treatment, while its research scientists explore the frontiers of neurological medicine. All share the Burke mission to ensure that every patient makes the fullest possible recovery from illness or injury.