Dropout during a 12-week transitional exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation programme: a mixed-methods prospective cohort study

Charlotte Greve Sommer*, Lars Bo Jørgensen, Birgitte Blume, Tom Møller, Søren Thorgaard Skou, Alexander Harrison, Lars Hermann Tang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

113 Downloads (Pure)


AIMS: Investigate the dropout rate during a 12-week transitional exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation (exCR) programme focusing on a halfway transition phase between hospital and the municipality-based cardiac rehabilitation. Secondly, investigate patient characteristics associated with dropout at the transition.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients with coronary heart disease, heart failure, or heart valve surgery referred to exCR were included in a prospective cohort study conducted between 1 March 2018 and 28 February 2019 at Zealand University Hospital. Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation was initiated at the hospital with a halfway transitional to local healthcare centres in the municipalities. Dropouts were identified every third week through telephone interviews. A Kaplan-Meier time-to-event analysis was used to investigate time to dropout, while multiple logistic regression assessed associations between patient characteristics and dropout at the transition. Of 560 patients eligible for exCR, 279 participated in the study. Fourteen patients were lost to follow-up and 103 dropped out, resulting in a dropout rate of 39% [95% confidence interval (CI) 33-45%]. Of the 103 dropouts, 72 patients (70%) dropped out at the transition. In the adjusted analysis, patients attached to the labour market were associated with dropout at the transition [odds ratio (OR) = 6.31 (95% CI 2.04-19.54)]. Furthermore, odds of dropping out at transition were reduced for each extra exercise session attended [OR = 0.79 (95% CI 0.66-0.94)].

CONCLUSION: The transition phase constitutes a critical dropout period in exCR, in which increased attention on patient adherence is needed. In clinical practice, communication and strategies addressing patient retention across settings could be essential to prevent dropout in transitional exCR.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)578-586
Publication statusPublished - 29. Aug 2022


  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Heart Failure
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Dropout during a 12-week transitional exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation programme: a mixed-methods prospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this