There is strong evidence that medication adherence and lifestyle changes are essential in patients undergoing secondary cardiovascular disease prevention. Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) increases medication adherence and improves lifestyle changes. Patients with cardiac diseases and a low educational level and patients with little social support are less responsive to improve medication adherence and to adapt lifestyle changes. The aim of the present study was to investigate the long-term effects of a socially differentiated CR intervention on medication adherence as well as changes in biological and lifestyle risk factors at two- five- and ten-year follow-up.
A prospective cohort study.
The cardiac ward at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.
A socially differentiated CR intervention in addition to the standard CR program.
Patients admitted with first-episode myocardial infarction between 2000 and 2004, N=379. Patients were defined as socially vulnerable or non-socially vulnerable according to their educational level and extent of social network.
Main outcome measures:
Primary outcome was medication adherence to antithrombotics, beta-blockers, statins and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Secondary outcomes were biological and lifestyle risk factors defined as; total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, glycated hemoglobin, blood pressure and smoking status.
No significant long-term effect of the intervention was found.
The results indicate a non-significant effect of the intervention. However, it was found that equality in health was improved in the study population except concerning smoking. General practitioners manage to support the long-term secondary cardiovascular disease prevention in all patients regardless of social status.