Cardiac rehabilitation in Canada and Arab countries: comparing availability and program characteristics

Karam I Turk-Adawi, Carmen Terzic, Birna Bjarnason-Wehrens, Sherry L Grace

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Despite the high burden of cardiovascular diseases in Arab countries, little is known about cardiac rehabilitation (CR) delivery. This study assessed availability, and CR program characteristics in the Arab World, compared to Canada.

METHODS: A questionnaire incorporating items from 4 national / regional published CR program surveys was created for this cross-sectional study. The survey was emailed to all Arab CR program contacts that were identified through published studies, conference abstracts, a snowball sampling strategy, and other key informants from the 22 Arab countries. An online survey link was also emailed to all contacts in the Canadian Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation directory. Descriptive statistics were used to describe all closed-ended items in the survey. All open-ended responses were coded using an interpretive-descriptive approach.

RESULTS: Eight programs were identified in Arab countries, of which 5 (62.5 %) participated; 128 programs were identified in Canada, of which 39 (30.5%) participated. There was consistency in core components delivered in Arab countries and Canada; however, Arab programs more often delivered women-only classes. Lack of human resources was perceived as the greatest barrier to CR provision in all settings, with space also a barrier in Arab settings, and financial resources in Canada. The median number of patients served per program was 300 for Canada vs. 200 for Arab countries.

CONCLUSION: Availability of CR programs in Arab countries is incredibly limited, despite the fact that most responses stemmed from high-income countries. Where available, CR programs in Arab countries appear to be delivered in a manner consistent with Canada.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC health services research
Pages (from-to)521
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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