Community-based hybrid cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs offer a viable alternative to conventional centre-based CR, however their long-term benefits are unknown. We conducted a secondary analysis of the CR Participation Study conducted in London, Ontario, between 2003 and 2006. CR eligible patients hospitalized for a major cardiac event, who resided within 60 min, were referred to a hybrid CR program; 381 of 544 (64%) referred patients initiated CR; an additional 1,498 CR eligible patients were not referred due to distance. For the present study, CR participants were matched using propensity scores to CR eligible non-participants who resided beyond 60 min, yielding 214 matched pairs. Subjects were followed for a mean (standard deviation, SD) of 8.56 (3.38) years for the outcomes of mortality or re-hospitalization for a major cardiac event. Hybrid CR participation was associated with a non-significant 16% lower event rate (Hazard Ratio [HR]: 0.84, 95% CI: 0.59–1.17). When restricting to pairs where CR participants achieved a greater than 0.5 metabolic equivalent exercise capacity increase (123 pairs), CR completion was associated with a 51% lower event rate (HR: 0.49, 95% CI: 0.29–0.81). Successful completion of a community-based hybrid CR program may be associated with decreased long-term mortality or recurrent cardiac events.
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