Efficacy of cardiac rehabilitation. 1: a critique of the research

Brennan, Arthur (1997) Efficacy of cardiac rehabilitation. 1: a critique of the research. British Journal of Nursing, 6(12), pp. 697-702. ISSN (print) 0966-0461


This article, the first of two parts, suggests that cardiac rehabilitation has two primary foci: the reduction of morbidity and mortality, and the amelioration of distress associated with cardiac pathology. While exercise programmes figure prominently in cardiac rehabilitation, empirical studies attest to their relatively modest impact on the recurrence of myocardial infarction. Other interventions such as stress management programmes reduce psychological distress and increase effective coping mechanisms, but only for a limited period. Traditional educational programmes compare unfavourably with cognitive-behavioural interventions. Empirical research appraising the efficacy of many cardiac rehabilitation interventions are tainted by numerous design problems. The second part of this article considers research into the efficacy of smoking cessation and type A behaviour modification programmes.

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