Clinical outcomes after cardiac rehabilitation in elderly patients with and without diabetes mellitus: The EU-CaRE multicenter cohort study

P. Eser, T. Marcin, E. Prescott, L.F. Prins, E. Kolkman, W. Bruins, A.E. van der Velde, C. Pena-Gil, M.C. Iliou, D. Ardissino, U. Zeymer, E.P. Meindersma, A.W.J. Van'tHof, E.P. de Kluiver, M. Laimer, M. Wilhelm*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background The prevalence of patients with concomitant cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus (DM) is increasing rapidly. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of current cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs across seven European countries between elderly cardiac patients with and without DM. Methods 1633 acute and chronic coronary artery disease (CAD) patients and patients after valve intervention with an age 65 or above who participated in comprehensive CR (3 weeks to 3 months, depending on centre) were included. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak), body mass index, resting systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) were assessed before start of CR, at termination of CR (variable time point), and 12 months after start of CR, with no intervention after CR. Baseline values and changes from baseline to 12-month follow-up were compared between patients with and without DM using mixed models, and mortality and hospitalisation rates using logistic regression. Results 430 (26.3%) patients had DM. Patients with DM had more body fat, lower educational level, more comorbidities, cardiovascular risk factors, and more advanced CAD. Both groups increased their VO2 peak over the study period but with a significantly lower improvement from baseline to follow-up in patients with DM. In the DM group, change in HbA1c was associated with weight change but not with change in absolute VO2 peak. 12-month cardiac mortality was higher in patients with DM. Conclusions While immediate improvements in VO2 peak after CR in elderly patients with and without DM were similar, 12-month maintenance of this improvement was inferior in patients with DM, possibly related to disease progression. Glycemic control was less favourable in diabetic patients needing insulin in the short- and long-term. Since glycemic control was only related to weight loss but not to increase in exercise capacity, this highlights the importance of weight loss in obese DM patients during CR.
Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Number of pages12
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2020


  • all-cause
  • arterial stiffness
  • bmi
  • cardiac rehabilitation
  • cardiovascular risk factors
  • cardiovascular-disease
  • chronotropic incompetence
  • exercise capacity
  • glycemic control
  • hba1c
  • ldl-c
  • peak vo2
  • pulse pressure
  • risk-factors
  • systolic blood pressure
  • training modalities
  • weight-loss
  • LDL-C
  • Cardiovascular risk factors
  • Peak VO2
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Exercise capacity
  • HbA1c
  • BMI
  • Systolic blood pressure

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