Medical director responsibilities for outpatient cardiac rehabilitation/secondary prevention programs: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association/American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Marjorie L. King, Mark A. Williams, Gerald F. Fletcher, Neil F. Gordon, Meg Gulanick, Carl N. King, Arthur S. Leon, Benjamin D. Levine, Fernando Costa, Nanette K. Wenger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Lifelong adherence to regular physical activity, a heart-healthy diet, a prescribed medication regimen, and smoking cessation is needed to maintain the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation/secondary prevention programs. Monitoring patient progress toward achieving goals is a responsibility of the medical director and staff of the cardiac rehabilitation/ secondary prevention program. Close interaction with the patient's primary care provider, cardiologist, or cardiovascular surgeon who cares for the patient's cardiovascular health is essential. Cardiac rehabilitation/secondary prevention programs play a pivotal role in fostering a patient's commitment to lifestyle modification, but individual patient-physician interaction linked to evidence-based guidelines is key to maintaining this process. Medical directors of cardiac rehabilitation/secondary prevention programs are uniquely positioned to ensure that secondary prevention programs function effectively to improve quality of care for patients with cardiovascular disease. The interactive role of the multiple physicians and team members involved in the patient's care cannot be overemphasized in the process of cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention. The active leadership of the program medical director is key. The medical director's role is pivotal in the development and implementation of program policies and procedures and in ensuring that appropriate patient assessments are completed, that an individualized plan of care for each patient is developed, that the program is safe, and that patient and program outcomes are consistent with current clinical practice standards. Optimal outcomes of cardiac rehabilitation/secondary prevention rely on a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team approach with strong leadership and direction provided by the program medical director.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3354-3360
Number of pages7
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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