Cardiac Rehabilitation Availability and Delivery in Canada: How Does It Compare With Other High-Income Countries?

Michelle Tran, Ella Pesah, Karam Turk-Adawi, Marta Supervia, Francisco Lopez Jimenez, Paul Oh, Carolyn Baer, Sherry L. Grace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Canada has insufficient cardiac rehabilitation (CR) capacity, yet unmet need is unknown. Moreover, Canada has CR guidelines, but whether delivery conforms has not been characterized by province/territory. This study aimed to establish (1) CR volumes, capacity, and density, as well as (2) the nature of programs, and (3) compare these (a) by province/territory and (b) with other high-income countries (HICs). Methods: In this cross-sectional study, an online survey was administered to CR programs globally. National cardiac associations were engaged to facilitate program identification where available, or local champions. Density was computed using Canada's Chronic Disease Surveillance System ischemic heart disease incidence estimates. Twenty-eight HICs with CR were selected for comparison (N = 619 programs), and multilevel analyses performed. Results: CR was available in 10 of 13 (76.9%) provinces (no programs in Canada's North), with 74 of 182 programs initiating a survey (40.7% response). Program volumes (median = 250) were greatest in Ontario, but ultimately there was only 1 CR spot per 4.55 patients with ischemic heart disease nationally (similar in other HICs), and 186,187 more spots are needed annually. Most programs were funded by government/hospital sources (n = 48, 66.7%), but in 23 (31.5%), patients paid some or all of program costs out-of-pocket. Guideline-indicated conditions were accepted in more than 90% of programs. Programs had a multidisciplinary team of 6.2 ± 2.1 staff, offering 7.7 ± 1.5/10 core components (varied by province, P = 0.001; return-to-work offered less frequently than other HICs; P = 0.03), over 42.0 ± 26.0 hours (provincial and other HIC differences, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Canadian CR capacity must be augmented, but where available, services are consistent with other HICs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S252-S262
JournalCanadian Journal of Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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