Remote-delivered cardiac rehabilitation during COVID-19: A prospective cohort comparison of health-related quality of life outcomes and patient experiences

Dion Candelaria, Ann Kirkness, Maura Farrell, Kellie Roach, Louise Gooley, Ashlee Fletcher, Sarah Ashcroft, Helen Glinatsis, Christine Bruntsch, Jayne Roberts, Sue Randall, Janice Gullick, Laila Akbar Ladak, Keith Soady, Robyn Gallagher

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Enforced suspension and reduction of in-person cardiac rehabilitation (CR) services during the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions required rapid implementation of remote delivery methods, thus enabling a cohort comparison of in-person vs. remote-delivered CR participants. This study aimed to examine the health-related quality of life (HRQL) outcomes and patient experiences comparing these delivery modes. Methods and results: Participants across four metropolitan CR sites receiving in-person (December 2019 to March 2020) or remote-delivered (April to October 2020) programmes were assessed for HRQL (Short Form-12) at CR entry and completion. A General Linear Model was used to adjust for baseline group differences and qualitative interviews to explore patient experiences. Participants (n = 194) had a mean age of 65.94 (SD 10.45) years, 80.9% males. Diagnoses included elective percutaneous coronary intervention (40.2%), myocardial infarction (33.5%), and coronary artery bypass grafting (26.3%). Remote-delivered CR wait times were shorter than in-person [median 14 (interquartile range, IQR 10-21) vs. 25 (IQR 16-38) days, P < 0.001], but participation by ethnic minorities was lower (13.6% vs. 35.2%, P < 0.001). Remote-delivered CR participants had equivalent benefits to in-person in all HRQL domains but more improvements than in-person in Mental Health, both domain [mean difference (MD) 3.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.28, 5.82] and composite (MD 2.37, 95% CI 0.15, 4.58). From qualitative interviews (n = 16), patients valued in-person CR for direct exercise supervision and group interactions, and remote-delivered for convenience and flexibility (negotiable contact times). Conclusion: Remote-delivered CR implemented during COVID-19 had equivalent, sometimes better, HRQL outcomes than in-person, and shorter wait times. Participation by minority groups in remote-delivered modes are lower. Further research is needed to evaluate other patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-740
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Patient experiences
  • Remote delivery


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