PLoS ONE (Jan 2022)
The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cardiac rehabilitation of patients following acute coronary syndrome.
BackgroundCardiac rehabilitation improves prognosis and symptoms in cardiac patients. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cardiac rehabilitation services were temporarily suspended between April and August. We aimed to investigate the effect of cardiac rehabilitation suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic on patients' exercise capacity and metabolic parameters.MethodsIncluded were patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation following hospital admission for ACS. Exercise capacity, weight and body fat percentage were compared between baseline, pre- and post-lockdown visits.ResultsA total of 281 patients participated in the cardiac rehabilitation program prior to its suspension. Of them, only 198 (70%) patients returned to the program on its renewal and were included in the analysis. Exercise capacity improved significantly in the pre-lockdown stress test compared to baseline. However, there was a significant decrease in exercise capacity in the post compared to pre-lockdown test (8.1±6.3 and 7.1±2.1 METs in pre- and post-lockdown measurements, respectively, pConclusionsCardiac rehabilitation suspension for 4 months during COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant reduction in exercise capacity and increased weight and body fat percent. These findings highlight the importance of remote cardiac rehabilitation services that can continue uninterrupted in times of pandemic.