Definition Of Cardiac Rehabilitation

There are many aspects to the management of coronary heart disease (CHD), including pharmacological treatment, cardiac investigations, secondary prevention and revascularisation. Secondary prevention consists of a number of activities or measures that may be taken by patients with established disease, in order to reduce their risk of a further event (Lockhart, et al., 2000). Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is acknowledged not only as integral in the management of patients with CHD, but also as the primary vehicle in delivering secondary prevention. Many definitions of CR exist, for example the World Health Organisation classifies CR as 'The sum of activities required to influence favourably the underlying cause of the disease, as well as to ensure the patient the best possible physical, mental and social conditions, so that they may, by their own efforts, preserve or resume when lost, as normal a place as possible in the life of the community' (World Health Organisation, 1993).

Exercise Leadership in Cardiac Rehabilitation. An Evidence-Based Approach. Edited by Morag Thow. Copyright 2006 by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. ISBN 0-470-01971-9

More recently CR has been redefined by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, subsequently adopted by the British Association for Cardiac Rehabilitation (BACR) as the UK guideline, as follows: 'Cardiac rehabilitation is the process by which patients with cardiac disease, in partnership with a multidisciplinary team of health professionals, are encouraged and supported to achieve and maintain optimal physical and psychosocial health' (SIGN, 2002). This is perhaps a more succinct definition, which encompasses all the key elements of CR, such as partnership, support, and the aim of optimising and maintaining the individual's health. Furthermore, the SIGN (2002) guideline acknowledges the key role that exercise plays in contemporary CR.

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