Background: The core of cardiac rehabilitation is structured exercise training. CR reduces 28-56% hospital readmission rate, and around 25 % increases cardiorespiratory fitness, thus there is a need to establish outpatient CR (Phase III) in Saudi Arabia (SA). Furthermore, the awareness of outpatient CR in SA is unknown.
Aims: To determine the main barriers to establishing an outpatient CR program (Phase III) in the western region of SA, as well as assess the awareness of outpatient CR (Phase III) in the western region of SA.
Methods: A cross-sectional study survey was conducted among physiotherapists, cardiologists and the cardiac surgeon using a questionnaire distributed electronically to determine the awareness level of outpatient CR and barriers to establishing outpatient CR (Phase III) in the western region of SA.
Results: Of the 141 participants who completed the survey, our findings showed that 131 were aware of CR with 112 participants were not aware of the four phases of CR. There were three main barriers to establishing CR: no appropriate CR (96%), lack of awareness among healthcare professions of the comprehensive CR phases and its benefits (95%) and the lack of healthcare providers trained in CR (94%).
Conclusions: To overcome the barriers to establishing CR outpatient centers in the western region of SA, it is recommended to provide more CR outpatient training programs to healthcare providers and raise the awareness of the CR phases, its benefits, and the risk factors for developing cardiac diseases among healthcare providers.