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How has technology been used to deliver cardiac rehabilitation during the COVID-19 pandemic? An international cross-sectional survey of healthcare professionals conducted by the BACPR
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  • Published on:
    A British Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (BACPR) response to the comment from the International Council of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (ICCPR)
    • Alasdair F O'Doherty, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Health Northumbria University, UK
    • Other Contributors:
      • Helen Humphreys, Researcher
      • Susan Dawkes, Professor of Nursing and Cardiovascular Health
      • Aynsley Cowie, Consultant Physiotherapist
      • Sally Hinton, BACPR Executive Director
      • Peter H Brubaker, Professor of Health and Exercise Science
      • Tom Butler, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Health
      • Simon Nichols, Senior Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Rehabilitation

    The BACPR would like to thank the ICCPR for their recent letter highlighting the work undertaken by both organisations. We are reassured to learn that the results of the ICCPR survey are similar to our own [1]. Both studies, conducted to support cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation programmes, found that half of all cardiac rehabilitation services were cancelled during the first wave of COVID-19 (~March to June 2020). This is concerning because the closure of so many cardiac rehabilitation programmes is likely to have had a significant negative effect on patient outcomes, cause avoidable hospital admissions, and undermine government efforts to reduce the pressure on acute hospital and healthcare services, during the COVID-19 pandemic. We agree with the ICCPR that further work is needed to investigate whether cardiac rehabilitation services have been restored. The BACPR remain committed to undertaking research that guides decision making and would be happy to explore opportunities with the ICCPR to combine existing research datasets and conduct future collaborative projects.

    We believe that it is essential that government, governing bodies, and local policy makers, support cardiac rehabilitation teams to resume the delivery of effective services. Whilst restrictions on face-to-face human contact remain in place, services should be supported to adopt and refine remotely delivered models of cardiac rehabilitation. As we demonstrate in our survey [1], significan...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Evidence from the International Council of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (ICCPR) Corroborates Rate of Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Closure Due to COVID-19
    • Gabriela Lima de Melo Ghisi, Scientific Associate Toronto Rehab Institute, University Health Network (Toronto, Canada)
    • Other Contributors:
      • Aashish Contractor, Director of the Dept of Rehab Medicine and Sports Medicine
      • Robyn Gallagher, Professor of Nursing
      • Colin Yeung, Preventive Cardiologist & Assistant Professor
      • Sherry L Grace, Professor and Sr. Scientist

    The International Council of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (ICCPR) congratulates the British Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (BACPR), a foundational member, in providing an informative report on the effects of COVID-19 on the delivery of cardiac rehabilitation (CR). ICCPR is looking forward to providing further peer-reviewed data soon to add to these important findings.

    Indeed, ICCPR’s soon-to-be published international survey of CR programs corroborates findings from BACPR’s study; we collated responses from over 1,000 programs in 70 countries (or 63% of those known to have CR in the world) and similarly found half of programs had been closed. Based on estimates of the number of CR programs available from our global audit ( and those temporarily shuttered, this would translate to 4400 programs being closed globally last Spring.

    Results from our survey also showed drastic increases in use of videoconferencing, but this work by BACPR provides much more information for the CR community on the use of technology for various components of CR.

    We also reported on the major impacts of the pandemic on staff from an occupational and psychosocial perspective. The pre-print of this work is available here: https://www.medrxiv...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.