Acute coronary syndromes: cardiac rehabilitation programmes and quality of life


  • Dominic S.K. Chan PhD RN RPN,

  • Janita P.C. Chau MPhil RN,

  • Anne M. Chang PhD RN

Dominic S.K. Chan,
School of Nursing,
Australian Catholic University,
115 Victoria Parade,
VIC 3065,


Aims.  This paper reports a study examining the quality of life of clients following hospital admission with acute coronary syndrome in Hong Kong and their use of cardiac rehabilitation.

Background.  Coronary heart disease is a major source of mortality and morbidity in Hong Kong. Western studies have suggested that participation in cardiac rehabilitation improves the quality of life of clients with coronary heart disease yet the use of cardiac rehabilitation has been reported to be low. Better understanding is needed of the psychosocial status of these clients in Hong Kong and their use of cardiac rehabilitation services.

Methods.  A prospective, pretest–post-test study was carried out, with data collected over a period of 6 months with convenience sample of 182 participants. Baseline data were obtained within one week after hospital admission for individuals experiencing ACS. The second phase of data collection commenced at 6 months after hospital discharge. Total period of data collection took over 12 months between 2002 and 2003. The Chinese version of the SF-36 was used to assess quality of life, and demographic data and the extent to which clients participated in the cardiac rehabilitation programme were assessed.

Results.  Only 25% of the participants attended at least one session of the cardiac rehabilitation programme. Significant improvement occurred in all clients’ perceived quality of life 6 months following initial hospital admission. No significant group differences in perceived quality of life were found according to whether or not clients used the cardiac rehabilitation services.

Conclusion.  Improvement in perceived health-related quality of life was evident over a 6-month period. Yet our findings suggested that participation in the cardiac rehabilitation programme did not have any apparent effects in subjects’ perceived quality of life. Further studies using both generic and disease-specific health-related quality of life instruments, as well as the inclusion of control group, are recommended. Continual improvement in cardiac rehabilitation programmes, and consideration of alternative modes of delivery other than the traditional attendance at hospital outpatient services, are also recommended.