Regular exercise is highly beneficial for all patients with cardiovascular disease regardless of age, report investigators in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, published by Elsevier. Their results showed that the patients who benefited most from cardiac rehabilitation were those who started out with the greatest physical impairment.
Elderly patients are at a higher risk for complications and accelerated physical deconditioning after a cardiovascular event, yet older patients are largely underrepresented in rehabilitation programs. Studies have shown that this might be due to a lack of referral and encouragement to attend cardiac rehabilitation in older patients.
“Aging is associated with several factors such as increased inflammation or oxidative stress that predispose people to cardiovascular diseases. As a result, elderly patients are usually less fit than their younger counterparts, and deconditioning is accelerated once cardiovascular disease is established,” explained lead investigator Gaëlle Deley, PhD, INSERM UMR1093 — CAPS, Faculty of Sports Sciences, University of Burgundy Franche-Comté, Dijon, France. “However, there are few data about the impact of patient age on the physical and psychological effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation.”
Several studies have looked at the effects of cardiac rehabilitation in older adults. However, these data often focus on patients above the age of 65 with no distinction between old and very old patients and examine either physical or psychological outcomes but not both.