Previous studies have indicated the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation programs after major coronary artery disease (CAD) events. We studied 591 consecutive patients from two academic institutions before and after completion of a cardiac rehabilitation and exercise training program to determine the effects of this therapy on exercise capacity, indices of obesity, plasma lipid values, behavioral characteristics, and quality of life parameters. After cardiac rehabilitation, statistically significant improvements occurred in exercise capacity (+33%), percent body fat (4%), body mass index (-1%), HDL-C (+5%), triglycerides (-9%), LDL-C/HDL-C (-6%), anxiety score (-39%), depression score (-35%), somatization score (-37%), and in all parameters of quality of life studied (total +14%). These data further support the ability of cardiac rehabilitation and exercise training programs to improve exercise capacity, plasma lipid values, obesity indices, behavioral characteristics, and quality of life parameters in a large cohort of patients who have had major CAD events.
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