Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation in Rural Texas

Morgan Walker, B.S., ACSM EP-C

The American Heart Association (AHA), American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) organizations have standards for cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs that focus on the management of secondary risk reduction.  While on the rise, accessibility of these types of programs still does not equal the demand, especially in rural areas1 . The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) has defined a rural area as an area with more than 6 but less than 100 people per square mile, has a hospital of 25-100 beds, and is within 30 minutes of driving time to a major medical center2 . Also according to NRHA, nearly one-fourth of the population of America lives in these rural areas and 18 percent of that quarter is age 65 or older2 . In Texas, approximately 9 percent of the population is considered rural.  There are a total of 424 hospitals or health centers in the state, with 149 of them located in rural areas according to the Rural Health Information Hub3 . Estimates for how many of those 149 provide cardiopulmonary or metabolic rehabilitative services is not known.  However, current evidence indicates that these programs, when implemented in rural areas can significantly improve the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in these types of clients.  Despite the positive impacts rural based cardiopulmonary rehab programs have on HRQoL, rural areas are still the underserved population even though demand is high for such programs4 .


1Huong N, Harrington A, Lee J & Gould M. (2015). Impact of pulmonary rehabilitation on hospitalizations for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among members of an integrated health care system. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention. 35:356-366.
2National Rural Health Association. How is “rural” defined?. Available at: Accessed October, 2016.
3Rural Health Information Hub. Texas. Available at: Accessed October, 2016.
4Valencia H, Savage P, Ades P. (2011). Cardiac rehabilitation participation in underserved populations: minorities, low socioeconimic, and rural residents. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention. 31: 203-210.

1 comment:

  1. Morgan,

    I agree that there is a need for more of these programs in rural Texas. However, it feels like there is not enough push for them. I wonder if there will be more programs like this actually set up where they are needed, because there is a clear need for them especially since heart attacks are the reason so many people lose their lives.