Cochrane for Clinicians

Putting Evidence into Practice

Impact of Exercise-Based Cardiac Rehabilitation


Am Fam Physician. 2016 Dec 1;94(11):881-882.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations.

Clinical Question

Does exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation in persons with coronary heart disease affect morbidity and mortality?

Evidence-Based Answer

Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation reduces cardiovascular mortality and hospitalization. There is no evidence that it reduces the rates of total mortality, myocardial infarctions, coronary artery bypass grafts, or percutaneous coronary interventions.1 (Strength of Recommendation: B, based on lower-quality clinical trials or studies with inconsistent findings.)

Practice Pointers

Although modern medical and surgical management allows patients with coronary heart disease to live longer than ever before, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States.2 Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation has been suggested as a modality to reduce morbidity and mortality in this growing population. The authors of this review sought to evaluate the effect of exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation on morbidity and mortality in patients with c

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations.


show all references

1. Anderson L, Thompson DR, Oldridge N, et al. Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation for coronary heart disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;(1):CD001800....

2. National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FastStats: heart disease. Accessed March 22, 2016.

3. Fleg JL, Forman DE, Berra K, et al.; American Heart Association Committees on Older Populations and Exercise Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention of the Council on Clinical Cardiology, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health. Secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in older adults: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2013;128(22):2422–2446.

4. Mezzani A, Hamm LF, Jones AM, et al. Aerobic exercise intensity assessment and prescription in cardiac rehabilitation: a joint position statement of the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and the Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2013;20(3):442–467.

These are summaries of reviews from the Cochrane Library.

This series is coordinated by Corey D. Fogleman, MD, Assistant Medical Editor.

A collection of Cochrane for Clinicians published in AFP is available at


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