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Cardiac Rehabilitation: Participating in an Exercise Program in a Quest to Survive


  • Ronald Mitchell PhD RN,

  • Michaelyn Muggli MS RN,

  • Alyce Sato PhD RN


Cardiovascular diseases are the major cause of death in the United States. The American Heart Association reports that approximately 500,000 persons die each year from heart attacks. Cardiac rehabilitation programs are based on objectives that would, when adhered to, extend and improve an individual's quality of life after experiencing a cardiac event. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and describe strategies that individuals who experienced a cardiac event used to overcome barriers associated with an exercise program. The sample consisted of six subjects (four females and two males) who were enrolled in a cardiac exercise program for 1 year or longer, and who continued to actively participate in at least two cardiac exercise classes per year. This study revealed that individuals who consistently participated in a cardiac exercise program did not use strategies to overcome barriers; rather, in their quest to survive, they used strategies to ensure their participation in the program. Ronald Mitchell is an assistant professor of nursing at Idaho State University in Pocatello. Michaelyn Muggli is a registered nurse at St. Luke's Hospital in Boise, ID. Alyce Sato is an associate professor of nursing at Idaho State University in Pocatello. Address correspondence to Ronald Mitchell at Idaho State University, Campus Box 8101, Pocatello, ID 83209.