Shorter Wait Times to Cardiac Rehabilitation Associated with Greater Exercise Capacity Improvements: A MULTISITE STUDY

Dion Candelaria, Robert Zecchin, Cate Ferry, Laila Ladak, Sue Randall, Robyn Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Comprehensive exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) results in improved, though highly variable, exercise capacity outcomes. Whether modifiable factors such as CR program wait time and session duration are associated with exercise capacity outcomes has not been adequately investigated. Methods: Patients with coronary heart disease (±primary and elective percutaneous coronary interventions, cardiac surgery) who participated in CR programs involved in a three-state audit (n = 32 sites) were eligible. Exercise capacity was measured using the 6-min walk test before and after a 6- to 12-wk supervised exercise program. CR program characteristics were also recorded (wait time, number of sessions). Correlations and linear mixed-effects models were used to identify associations between sociodemographic and CR program characteristics and change in exercise capacity. Results: Patients (n = 894) had a mean age of 65.9 ± 11.8 yr, 71% were males, 33% were referred for cardiac surgery, and median wait time was 16 d (interquartile range 9, 26). Exercise capacity improved significantly and clinically (mean increase 70.4 ± 61.8 m). After adjusting for statistically significant factors including younger age (<50 vs ≥80 yr [β = 52.07]), female sex (β = -15.86), exercise capacity at CR entry (β = 0.22) and those nonsignificant (ethnicity, risk factors, and number of sessions), shorter wait time was associated with greater exercise capacity improvement (β = 0.23). Conclusions: This study confirms that greater exercise capacity improvements occur with shorter wait times. Coordinators should prioritize implementing strategies to shorten wait time to optimize the benefits of CR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • 6-min walk test
  • cardiac rehabilitation
  • exercise capacity
  • exercise outcomes
  • wait time


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