Background: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is underutilized globally despite evidence of clinical benefit. Major obstacles for wider adoption include distance from the rehabilitation center, travel time, and interference with daily routine. Tele-cardiac rehabilitation (tele-CR) can potentially address some of these limitations, enabling patients to exercise in their home environment or community.
Objectives: To evaluate the clinical and physiological outcomes as well as adherence to tele-CR in patients with low cardiovascular risk and to assess exercise capacity, determined by an exercise stress test, using a treadmill before and following the 6-month intervention.
Methods: A total of 22 patients with established coronary artery disease participated in a 6-month tele-CR program. Datos Health (Ramat Gan, Israel), a digital health application and care-team dashboard, was used for remote monitoring, communication, and management of the patients.
Results: Following the 6-month tele-CR intervention, there was significant improvement in exercise capacity, assessed by estimated metabolic equivalents with an increase from 10.6 ± 0.5 to 12.3 ± 0.5 (P = 0.002). High-density lipoproteins levels significantly improved, whereas low-density lipoproteins, triglyceride, glycosylated hemoglobin, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels were not significantly changed. Exercise adherence was consistent among patients, with more than 63% of patients participating in a moderate intensity exercise program for 150 minutes per week.
Conclusions: Patients who participated in tele-CR adhered to the exercise program and attained clinically significant functional improvement. Tele-CR is a viable option for populations that cannot, or elect not to, participate in center-based CR programs.