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Mayo Clinic App Helps Patients Undergoing Cardiac Rehab

Created: 03/29/2014 7:00 PM KAALtv.com

(ABC 6 News) Washington, D.C. -- Patients who attended cardiac rehabilitation and used a smartphone-based app to record daily measurements such as weight and blood pressure had greater improvements in those cardiovascular risk factors; they also were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 90 days of discharge, compared with patients who only attended cardiac rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic researchers found.

Only 20 percent of the patients who attended cardiac rehab and used the app were readmitted to the hospital or visited the emergency department within 90 days, compared with 60 percent of those in the control group, researchers discovered.

Results of the Mayo Clinic study were presented in a press conference Saturday, March 29, at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session in Washington, D.C.

In this study, 44 patients at Mayo Clinic who were hospitalized following a heart attack and stent placement were divided into two groups: 25 received cardiac rehab and the online/smartphone-based program; the 19 in the control group received only cardiac rehab. Patients in the app group were asked to enter data each day into the program downloaded onto their mobile device.

“We know from studies that patients who participate in cardiac rehabilitation lower their risks significantly for another cardiac event and for rehospitalization,” says Amir Lerman, M.D., Mayo Clinic cardiologist and senior study author. “We wanted to see if offering patients a smartphone app, in addition to their cardiac rehab, would increase their ability to reduce their risk even further. We know that people use their mobile devices all day, and we hoped using it for cardiac rehab would help them in their recovery.”

In addition to recording blood pressure, weight, blood sugar levels, minutes of physical activity and dietary habits over a three-month period, the app also provided patients with educational activities, which taught them lifestyle behaviors that could help avoid further cardiac problems,  such as a second heart attack. Patients received no monetary reward.

“Results of this study reinforce the importance of cardiac rehab,” says R. Jay Widmer, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic fellow and the study’s first author. “There are multiple versions of cardiac rehab, and this is just one more option in our technological age. We hope a tool like this will help us extend the reach of cardiac rehab to all heart patients, but, in particular, it could help patients in rural and underserved populations who might not be able to attend cardiac rehab sessions.”

Mayo Clinic created an app that is helping cardiac rehab patients.