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Most Who Get Heart Valve Replacement Don't Get Follow-Up Rehab

TUESDAY, Oct. 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- A majority of people who have a minimally invasive heart valve replacement procedure are not getting the recommended cardiac rehab after their surgeries, researchers say.

A new study finds that just under 31% of patients who have transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) are receiving this service within 90 days of the procedure.

This could be explained by TAVR patients being more frail or having medically complex conditions, the study authors noted.

It may also be that patients are not receiving the appropriate education about the importance of rehabilitation.

“Cardiac rehabilitation has been shown to improve the quality of life for so many patients after cardiovascular procedures,” said first study author Dr. Devraj Sukul. He is an interventional cardiologist at the University of Michigan Health's Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

“We found that the differences in participation between hospitals may be related to differences in the process each hospital takes after a patient undergoes TAVR. It is critical that we identify best practices to promote cardiac rehab participation to improve post-operative outcomes,” Sukul said in a news release from Michigan Medicine.

To study this, the researchers used clinical registry and health care claims data from more than 3,300 patients who underwent TAVR in Michigan across 24 hospitals between 2016 and mid-2020.

The investigators found that patients who were older, frailer, smoked or had a history of common heart rhythm issues, such as atrial fibrillation, were less likely to enter cardiac rehab. Participation varied substantially across the 24 hospitals, ranging from 5% to 60%, and this variation persisted even with patient differences.

The study authors noted that cardiac rehab participation after TAVR was significantly lower than that for patients who had open-heart surgeries.

The findings were published online recently in the journal JACC: Advances.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

SOURCE: Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan, news release, Oct. 9, 2023

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