Effectiveness of nurse-led cardiac rehabilitation programs following coronary artery bypass graft surgery: a systematic review
INTRODUCTION: Coronary heart disease is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, putting a great strain on healthcare resources. For the past two decades, population-wide primary prevention and individual healthcare approaches have resulted in a dramatic decline in overall cardiac mortality. Over the intervening years, surgical techniques in cardiology have also improved substantially. As a result, long-term outcomes in patients treated with coronary artery bypass graft surgery have established the treatment's effectiveness and survival benefit. Furthermore, participating in cardiac rehabilitation following coronary artery bypass graft surgery has also demonstrated a significant decrease in all-cause cardiac mortality in these patients.
INCLUSION CRITERIA: This review included studies with participants aged 18 years and over, post coronary artery bypass graft surgery that evaluated nurse-led cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs compared with usual care or other forms of CR. The outcomes of interest were the health-related quality of life and hospital readmissions following coronary artery bypass graft surgery and measured using validated scales. Randomized controlled trials reported in English between 2000 to June 2017 were considered for inclusion.
METHODS: The search strategy aimed to find both published and unpublished studies using a three-step search strategy. An initial search of MEDLINE, CINAHL and Scopus was undertaken, followed by a search for unpublished studies including Dissertation Abstracts International, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, Google Scholar, MedNar and ClinicalTrials.gov. Papers selected for retrieval were assessed by two independent reviewers for methodological validity prior to inclusion in the review using the standardized critical appraisal tools from the Joanna Briggs Institute System for the Unified Management, Assessment and Review of Information (JBI SUMARI). Quantitative data was extracted from papers included in the review using the standardized data extraction tool from JBI-SUMARI. No meta-analysis was undertaken due to heterogeneity of the outcome measures. All results were subject to double data entry. Effect sizes expressed as risk ratio (for categorical data) and weighted mean differences (for continuous data) and their 95% confidence intervals were calculated for analysis.
RESULTS: Three trials involving 329 patients were included in the final review. The trials that investigated the effect of home based cardiac rehabilitation programs compared to usual care at six weeks, three months and six months follow-up demonstrated no statistically significant difference in health-related quality of life at any of the follow-up periods. However, one study demonstrated significantly higher scores related to health-related quality of life among those who received nurse-led home based cardiac rehabilitation (154.93±4.6) compared to those who received usual care (134.20±8.2) at two months follow-up. No trials were identified that compared the effectiveness of nurse-led cardiac rehabilitation programs following coronary artery bypass graft surgery on readmissions to hospital.
CONCLUSION: There is not enough evidence to support or discourage nurse-led cardiac rehabilitation programs on health-related quality of life in patients following coronary artery bypass graft surgery. However, the sparse data available suggests improvements in health-related quality of life at two months follow-up among those who received a nurse-led program. Further large-scale multicenter trials with standardized methodology are needed to determine the effect of nurse-led cardiac rehabilitation programs on health-related quality of life and rates of readmission to hospital following coronary artery bypass graft surgery.