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Rehab improves survival after heart attack

Posted - Sep. 1, 2004 at 6:20 a.m.



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ROCHESTER, Minn., Aug 31, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Cardiac rehabilitation raises three-year survival rates after a heart attack by more than 50 percent, U.S. researchers reported Tuesday.

A study done by the Mayo Clinic, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, finds that despite the advantages of rehab, only about half of eligible patients participate.

Cardiac rehabilitation includes a medically supervised exercise program to help patients regain strength after a heart attack, bypass surgery or angioplasty.

Researchers analyzed cases from 1,821 patients in Olmsted County, Minn., who had heart attacks between 1982 and 1998 and found 48 percent of the deaths within three years of leaving the hospital were attributable to not participating in cardiac rehab.

"On average, for patients who participated in cardiac rehab, it was almost as if the heart attack never had happened. They had the same three-year survival as what would be expected from area residents of the same age and sex who had not suffered heart attacks," wrote Dr. Veronique Roger, the cardiologist who led the study.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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