Background: Poor health-related quality of life (HRQL) has been shown to be predictive of adverse outcomes in cardiac patients. As women with coronary heart disease have been shown to have lower HRQL than men with coronary heart disease, women are at greater risk of a poor clinical outcome. This study tested the effect of a 12-week home walking intervention after completion of outpatient cardiac rehabilitation (OCR) on HRQL and maintenance of physical activity among women. Design: Multicenter two-group randomized trial. Methods: After completion of OCR, participants were randomly allocated to the intervention or usual care groups. The outcomes were HRQL (assessed using the MacNew Heart Disease HRQL instrument) and self-reported physical activity (assessed using the Stages of Change model of exercise behavior) at 3, 6, and 12 months after OCR. Results: Seventy-two women were randomized to the intervention and 81 to usual care. Attrition was greater in the treatment group (13 vs. 1%). HRQL scores increased relative to the base level in both arms and were significantly higher in the intervention group at 6 months, but not at 3 or 12 months. Maintenance of physical activity declined over time in both groups, however, this decline was significantly reduced among women in the intervention group. Conclusion: HRQL improved in both groups, but seemed to increase earlier among women in the intervention group. As maintenance of physical activity was higher among women in the intervention group, this minimal intervention could be used to facilitate women’s progression from supervised to independent exercise.
European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation Vol. 16, Issue 5, p. 633-637