Cardiac rehabilitation availability and characteristics in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Global Comparison

Audry Chacin-Suarez, Sherry L. Grace, Claudia Anchique-Santos, Marta Supervia, Karam Turk-Adawi, Raquel R. Britto, Dawn C. Scantlebury, Felipe Araya-Ramirez, Graciela Gonzalez, Briseida Benaim, Rosalia Fernandez, Jacqueline Hol, Gerard Burdiat, Richard Salmon, Hermes Lomeli, Taslima Mamataz, Jose R. Medina-Inojosa, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This study aimed to establish availability and characteristics of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), where cardiovascular disease is highly prevalent. Methods: In this cross-sectional sub-analysis focusing on the 35 LAC countries, local cardiovascular societies identified CR programs globally. An online survey was administered to identified programs, assessing capacity and characteristics. CR need was computed relative to ischemic heart disease (IHD) incidence from the Global Burden of Disease study. Results: ≥1 CR program was identified in 24 LAC countries (68.5% availability; median = 3 programs/country). Data were collected in 20/24 countries (83.3%); 139/255 programs responded (54.5%), and compared to responses from 1082 programs in 111 countries. LAC density was 1 CR spot per 24 IHD patients/year (vs 18 globally). Greatest need was observed in Brazil, Dominican Republic and Mexico (all with >150,000 spots needed/year). In 62.8% (vs 37.2% globally P < .001) of CR programs, patients pay out-of-pocket for some or all of CR. CR teams were comprised of a mean of 5.0 ± 2.3 staff (vs 6.0 ± 2.8 globally; P < .001); Social workers, dietitians, kinesiologists, and nurses were significantly less common on CR teams than globally. Median number of core components offered was 8 (vs 9 globally; P < .001). Median dose of CR was 36 sessions (vs 24 globally; P < .001). Only 27 (20.9%) programs offered alternative CR models (vs 31.1% globally; P < .01). Conclusion: In LAC countries, there is very limited CR capacity in relation to need. CR dose is high, but comprehensiveness low, which could be rectified with a more multidisciplinary team.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-27
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican heart journal
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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