Heart Beat: 08/08
Patients recovering from acute heart problems, such as heart attacks and heart surgery, are more likely to adopt healthy lifestyle habits if they meet regularly with "disease managers" for three years than if they undergo the typical 12-week rehabilitation program. Research reported in the June issue of the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention found that out of 503 heart patients (average age 65), most who stayed with a program for three years were more likely to adhere to aspirin and other medical therapy than patients not enrolled in the longer program. They also exercised an average of 123 minutes per week, and kept their blood pressure within a healthy range. The three-year program included the initial 12-week rehab program, in which patients learned about diet, exercise, medical adherence and other lifestyle adjustments, followed by quarterly or biannual face-to-face meetings with cardiac rehabilitation specialists.