Background: Remote cardiac rehabilitation (RCR) after myocardial infarction is an innovative Israeli national program in the field of telecardiology. RCR is included in the Israeli health coverage for all citizens. It is generally accepted that telemedicine programs better apply to younger patients because it is thought that they are more technologically literate than are older patients. It has also previously been thought that older patients have difficulty using technology-based programs and attaining program goals. Objective: The objectives of this study were as follows: to study patterns of physical activity, goal achievement, and improvement in functional capacity among patients undergoing RCR over 65 years old compared to those of younger patients; and to identify predictors of better adherence with the RCR program. Methods: A retrospective study of patients post-myocardial infarction were enrolled in a 6-month RCR program. The activity of the patients was monitored using a smartwatch. The data were collected and analyzed by a special telemedicine platform. RCR program goals were as follows: 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, 120 minutes of the activity in the target heart rate recommended by the exercise physiologist, and 8000 steps per day. Models were created to evaluate variables predicting adherence with the program. Results: Out of 306 patients, 80 were older adults (mean age 70 years, SD 3.4 years). At the end of the program, there was a significant improvement in the functional capacity of all patients (P = .002). Specifically, the older adult group improved from a mean 8.1 (SD 2.8) to 11.2 (SD 12.6). The metabolic equivalents of task (METs) and final MET results were similar among older and younger patients. During the entire program period, the older adult group showed better achievement of program goals compared to younger patients (P = .03). Additionally, we found that younger patient age is an independent predictor of early dropout from the program and completion of program goals (P = .045); younger patients were more likely to experience early program dropout and to complete fewer program goals. Conclusions: Older adult patients demonstrated better compliance and achievement of the goals of the remote rehabilitation program in comparison with younger patients. We found that older age is not a limitation but rather a predictor of better RCR program compliance and program goal achievement.
- elderly patients
- mobile application
- patient monitoring
- remote cardiac rehabilitation