Research at Cardiac Rehab
Since the start of our cardiac rehabilitation programme in 1976 research has been an important part of our operation. The first paper reporting our work appeared in the international journal Rehabilitacia 1979. This was also the year in which our randomised controlled trial of cardiac rehabilitation started – a trial which took four years to complete and was later published in the British Heart Journal. The main findings were that those who took part in our rehabilitation programme after a heart attack became fitter, were less likely to suffer angina and showed a greater improvement in psychological health than those who did not. The trial was too small to be able to show a reduction in mortality but the trial was included in a much larger analysis of the combined results of all the trials up to 1990 – a so called “meta-analysis" – and this did show a significantly lower mortality for treated patients.
Since then we have concentrated on research to give useful information to other organisers of cardiac rehabilitation – for instance how widely available is cardiac rehabilitation, the usefulness of education for partners of our patients, the best tests of psychological health in this setting, the prediction of dropping out, the use of a blood test to assess risk and how to measure exercise intensity during the programme.
We have published numerous scientific papers in international research journals and also presented the results at many national and international scientific conferences.
Our current research includes an examination of changes over time in the characteristics of the rehabilitation patient population, the long term prediction of risk from a blood test and some results from observations made over nearly two decades.