Robust clinical and economic evidence suggests that cardiac rehabilitation (CR) should be an important and integral component of care for many patients with heart disease. Nationally, the mean uptake for cardiac rehabilitation is as low as 38% of appropriate patients, with widespread geographic variation.1 The launch of the National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation (NACR) in 2007 focused attention on the importance of access to specialist rehabilitation services in the effective management of patients with coronary artery disease and heart failure. The campaign, led by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) with support from the British Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation (BACR), demands that all patients who might benefit should be able to access CR services, either in a medical setting or at home.
To address the question of increasing engagement with CR programmes in target areas, in 2009, I chaired a Steering Committee convened by Abbott Healthcare Products Ltd. (formerly Solvay Healthcare) called ‘Setting the Standard for Cardiac Rehabilitation’ (START). The Steering Committee advised that the existing Cardiac Networks in each region would be the best forum for disseminating information about changes in CR funding and standards of care in this field. Abbott Healthcare Products Ltd. kindly agreed to organise a series of meetings in the UK, held during 2009 and early 2010, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of CR and reviewing best practice.
This supplement has been developed to provide insights into the issues covered by these meetings and to share important messages about modern CR from the meeting contributors.
1. National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation, Annual Statistical Report 2009. www.cardiacrehabilitation.org.uk/nacr/docs/2009.pdf