206. Guidelines: 2021 ESC Cardiovascular Prevention – Question #12 with Dr. Laurence Sperling

The following question refers to Section 4.11 of the 2021 ESC CV Prevention Guidelines. The question is asked by Dr. Christian Faaborg-Andersenanswered first by UCSF resident Dr. Jessie Holtzmanand then by expert faculty Dr. Laurence Sperling.

Dr. Laurence Sperling is the Katz Professor in Preventive Cardiology at the Emory University School of Medicine and Founder of Preventive Cardiology at the Emory Clinic. Dr. Sperling was a member of the writing group for the 2018 Cholesterol Guidelines, serves as Co-Chair for the ACC’s Cardiometabolic and Diabetes working group, and is Co-Chair of the WHF Roadmap for Cardiovascular Prevention in Diabetes.

The CardioNerds Decipher The Guidelines Series for the 2021 ESC CV Prevention Guidelines represents a collaboration with the ACC Prevention of CVD Section, the National Lipid Association, and Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association.

Medically supervised cardiac rehabilitation programs after ASCVD events and for patient with heart failure carries a Class I recommendation. However, placement of referrals, uptake and enrollment after referral, and rigor of rehabilitation all remain inconsistent. What minimum cumulative duration of cardiac rehabilitation has been chosen as a threshold of effectiveness for cardiac rehabilitation by the European Society of Cardiology?

A. 100-300 minutes, 10 sessions
B. 300-500 minutes, 16 sessions
C. 500-700 minutes, 22 sessions
D. 700-1000 minutes, 28 sessions
E. >1000 minutes, 36 sessions

The correct answer is E: >1000 minutes across 36 sessions.

Cardiac rehabilitation is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary intervention not just including exercise training and physical activity counselling, but also education, risk factor modification, diet/nutritional counselling, and vocational and psychosocial support.

A broad evidence base demonstrates that multidisciplinary cardiac rehabilitation and prevention programs after ASCVD events or revascularization reduce recurrent cardiovascular hospitalizations, myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular mortality. In patients with chronic HF (mainly HFrEF), exercise based cardiac rehabilitation (EBCR) may improve all-cause mortality, reduce hospital admissions, and improve exercise capacity and quality of life. Such programs include a wide array of activities including physical activity, risk factor modification, psychosocial support, nutrition counseling, and more. Despite the heterogenous design of clinical trials, cardiac rehabilitation has been shown to be a cost-effective intervention.

Based upon the available review data, the European Association of Preventive Cardiology and the European Society of Cardiology proposed minimum standards for secondary prevention cardiac rehabilitation programs. Based upon a comprehensive review of the literature, ESC recommends that cardiac rehabilitation be multidisciplinary, supervised by health professionals, and start as soon as possible after a cardiovascular event. Cardiac rehabilitation should include both aerobic and muscular resistance tailored to the fitness level of the participant, should carry a duration of >1000 minutes in total, and should exceed 36 sessions total.

While uptake remains limited, electronic prompts within the medical record and automatic referrals should be considered to enhance referral and participation. Future research should continue to explore the benefit of home-based cardiac rehabilitation with or without telemonitoring. Lastly, studies have shown that uptake remains lower among women, and targeted programs should be undertaken to address such disparities.

Main Takeaway

Current European Society of Cardiology guidelines provide a Class I (LOE A) recommendation for the participation in multidisciplinary cardiac rehabilitation programs for the secondary prevention of ASCVD events including revascularization and in individuals with heart failure (mainly HFrEF) to improve patient outcomes.

Guideline Location

Section 4.11, Page 3292.

206. Guidelines: 2021 ESC Cardiovascular Prevention – Question #12 with Dr. Laurence Sperling
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