Early and Late Rehabilitation and Physical Training in Elderly Patients After Cardiac Surgery

Macchi C, Fattirolli F, Lova RM, Conti AA, Luisi ML, Intini R, Zipoli R, Burgisser C, Guarducci L, Masotti G, Gensini GF

The aims of this study was to determine whether rehabilitation outcomes are favorable in post-surgical patients aged 75yrs or more, and whether an early rehabilitation program is as effective and safe as later rehabilitation. Three hundred patients who had undergone cardiac surgery were included in the study, 27.7% of whom were older than 75 yrs. One group started rehabilitation within the second week after operation and the other started within the fourth week.

The findings included: new onset atrial fibrillation significantly more frequently in the early rehabilitation group (independent of age), significant improvement in walking distance, no significant difference with regard to mortality, nonfatal events and functional ability. The authors conclude that outcomes are favorable and safe for patients aged more than 75 years, and that and early rehabilitation program is as effective and safe as a traditionally late one.

AM J Phys Med Rehabil 2007; 86: 826 – 834

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