Of 120 vocational rehabilitation clients having cardiac surgery between July, 1966 and December, 1968, seven were lost to follow-up, and the operative and late mortality totaled 14%. Ninety-six patients were seen for voluntary outpatient evaluation with a mean postoperative evaluation time of 22 months. Two-thirds of the patients had acquired heart disease and were in functional class III or IV preoperatively. After surgery 76 were in functional class I or II with 20 in functional class III. The electrocardiogram and radiographic heart size had returned toward normal in over 50%, and 76% of those having preoperative exercise tests demonstrated improved exercise capacity postoperatively.
The rehabilitation effort was successful in 83% of those surviving surgery and 77% of the entire series. Medical and surgical physical factors were found to be more important than psychosocial factors in determining the vocational outcome after surgery. The duration of unemployment was the most important preoperative variable in predicting the rehabilitation result. The importance of medical follow-up after cardiac surgery is emphasized by the detection of a significant number of residual medical problems.
- Cardiovascular rehabilitation
- Functional class
- Treadmill exercise
- Predictive variables
- Physical and psychosocial factors
- © 1971 American Heart Association, Inc.