AIMS: To assess the effectiveness of home-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) for heart failure compared to either usual medical care (i.e. no CR) or centre-based CR on mortality, morbidity, exercise capacity, health-related quality of life, drop out, adherence rates, and costs.
METHODS: Randomised controlled trials were initially identified from previous systematic reviews of CR. We undertook updated literature searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Cochrane Library to December 2015.
A total of 19 trials with median follow up of 3months were included - 17 comparisons of home-based CR to usual care (995 patients) and four comparing home and centre-based CR (295 patients).
RESULTS: Compared to usual care, home-based CR improved VO2max (mean difference: 1.6ml/kg/min, 0.8 to 2.4) and total Minnesota Living with Quality of Life score (-3.3, -7.5 to 1.0), with no difference in mortality, hospitalisation or study drop out. Outcomes and costs were similar between home-based and centre-based CR with the exception of higher levels of trial completion in the home-based group (relative risk: 1.2, 1.0 to 1.3).
CONCLUSIONS: Home-based CR results in short-term improvements in exercise capacity and health-related quality of life of heart failure patients compared to usual care. The magnitude of outcome improvement is similar to centre-based CR. Home-based CR appears to be safe with no evidence of increased risk of hospitalisation or death. These findings support the provision of home-based CR for heart failure as an evidence-based alternative to the traditional centre-based model of provision.