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.
- Cardiopulmonary exercise testing
- exercise sessions
- major adverse cardiovascular events
- postoperative care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine