The Role of Cardiac Rehabilitation in Reducing Major Adverse Cardiac Events in Heart Transplant Patients

Katelyn E. Uithoven, Joshua R. Smith, Jose R. Medina-Inojosa, Ray W. Squires, Thomas P. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Methods for reducing major adverse cardiac events (MACE) in patients after heart transplantation (HTx) are critical for long-term quality outcomes. Methods and Results: Patients with cardiopulmonary exercise testing prior to HTx and at least 1 session of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) after HTx were included. Exercise sessions were evaluated as ≥ 23 or < 23 sessions based on recursive partitioning. We included 140 patients who had undergone HTx (women: n = 41 (29%), age: 52 ± 12 years, body mass index: 27 ± 5 kg/m2). Mean follow-up was 4.1 ± 2.7 years, and 44 patients (31%) had a MACE: stroke (n = 1), percutaneous intervention (n = 5), heart failure (n = 6), myocardial infarction (n = 1), rejection (n = 16), or death (n = 15). CR was a significant predictor of MACE, with ≥ 23 sessions associated with a ∼ 60% reduction in MACE risk (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.42, 95% CI: 0.19–0.94, P = 0.035). This remained after adjusting for age, sex and history of diabetes (HR: 0.41, 95% CI: 0.18–0.94, P = 0.035) as well as body mass index and pre-HTx peak oxygen consumption (HR: 0.40, 95% CI: 0.18–0.92, P = 0.031). Conclusions: After adjustment for covariates of age, sex, diabetes, body mass index, and pre-HTx peak oxygen consumption, CR attendance of ≥ 23 exercise sessions was predictive of lower MACE risk following HTx. In post-HTx patients, CR was associated with MACE prevention and should be viewed as a critical tool in post-HTx treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-651
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiac Failure
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Cardiopulmonary exercise testing
  • exercise sessions
  • major adverse cardiovascular events
  • postoperative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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