Cardiac Rehabilitation Use After Heart Failure Hospitalization Associated With Advanced Heart Failure Center Status

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J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev


PURPOSE: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is an evidence-based, guideline-endorsed therapy for patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) but is broadly underutilized. Identifying structural factors contributing to increased CR use may inform quality improvement efforts. The objective here was to associate hospitalization at a center providing advanced heart failure (HF) therapies and subsequent CR participation among patients with HFrEF.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was performed on a 20% sample of Medicare beneficiaries primarily hospitalized with an HFrEF diagnosis between January 2008 and December 2018. Outpatient claims were used to identify CR use (no/yes), days to first session, number of attended sessions, and completion of 36 sessions. The association between advanced HF status (hospitals performing heart transplantation or ventricular assist device implantations) and CR participation was evaluated with logistic regression, accounting for patient, hospital, and regional factors.

RESULTS: Among 143 392 Medicare beneficiaries, 29 487 (20.6%) were admitted to advanced HF centers (HFC) and 5317 (3.7%) attended a single CR session within 1 yr of discharge. In multivariable analysis, advanced HFC status was associated with significantly greater relative odds of participating in CR (OR = 2.20: 95% CI, 2.08-2.33; P < .001) and earlier initiation of CR participation (-8.5 d; 95% CI, -12.6 to 4.4; P < .001). Advanced HFC status had little to no association with the intensity of CR participation (number of visits or 36 visit completion).

CONCLUSIONS: Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for HF were more likely to attend CR after discharge if admitted to an advanced HFC than a nonadvanced HFC.

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ePub ahead of print